Behind India’s Bust Of A Pakistan Spy

April 29, 2010

Suman K. Chakrabarti and Omar Warraich

In this undated handout photo, Madhuri Gupta, 53, an Indian diplomat who worked as second secretary in the Indian high commission in Islamabad is seen

“At 53, she was bored, alone and attractive. Single, but definitely one step ahead to mingle.” That’s how the man who led the operation to bust Madhuri Gupta, the first Indian diplomat to be found spying for Pakistan, described her. For most of her two years in espionage, Gupta was a lone-wolf, conducting a classic spy operation from her base in Islamabad. Old-school “dead drops,” in which she passed off information without even meeting her Pakistani handlers, were her signature style. Yet it was a silly indiscretion — sending e-mails to her spy bosses from her office computer — that finally led to her arrest.

Gupta has not exactly been near the center of Indian decision-making, posted as a second secretary in the media section of India’s high commission in Pakistan’s capital, where her job had been to provide English and Hindi summaries of Pakistan’s Urdu-language newspapers. On April 22, the 53-year-old was summoned back to New Delhi ostensibly to help colleagues prepare for the ongoing South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC) summit in Bhutan. After landing at Indira Gandhi International Airport, she was whisked away by officials of the Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau (IB), India’s internal intelligence agency, straight to an interrogation chamber in an undisclosed location. Twenty-four hours later, she was handed over to Delhi police, charged with treason and accessing confidential documents under India’s Official Secrets Act.

“Her spy game was up the moment a Joint Secretary — an IB officer — inside the Islamabad mission suspected her around October 2009 and reported back,” a high-level IB case officer in New Delhi told TIME. The IB launched a massive counter-intelligence operation, in which even its counterparts in the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), the country’s external intelligence agency, were kept out of the loop.

Over the next six months, Gupta’s every step was monitored. She was found to be taking undue interest in informal discussions among the senior embassy officials regarding important policy matters, including India’s strategic plans in Afghanistan and resuming a dialogue with Pakistan. She was even fed with incorrect information to be passed on to her Pakistan handlers, suspected to be from the Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI).

Pakistani authorities refused to comment on the case, but analysts in Islamabad saw her arrest as an attempt to scupper upcoming planned talks between India’s and Pakistan’s prime ministers. “The timing was supposed to send a signal that India is not ready to talk to Pakistan yet,” said Cyril Almeida, an editor and analyst at Pakistan’s
Dawn newspaper. “India has not moved beyond its post-Mumbai [the terror attack which Indian and Western authorities say originated in Pakistan] phase. It is not looking for talks with Pakistan any time soon.”

India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was scheduled to meet his Pakistani counterpart, Yousuf Raza Gilani, this week, although the purpose of such talks is contested. After breaking off all dialogue with Pakistan after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, Indian officials had suggested a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the SAARC summit to discuss a long-running water dispute, but Pakistan has made clear that it wants a formal, open-ended peace talks. As Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told the India’s CNN-IBN network on Tuesday, “We need to go beyond a handshake.”

Asked whether the two prime ministers would still hold talks in Bhutan this week, Pakistan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Malik Amad Khan told TIME, “Maybe, maybe not, but that’s totally independent of [the spying] allegations.”

Almeida notes that espionage efforts to “turn” the other country’s diplomats are par for the course between the long-time rivals, “But given [Gupta’s] relatively junior position it is unlikely that she would have had access to sensitive documents, unless there was a real breakdown internally.”

Indian government sources say Gupta had been spying for Pakistan since September 2008. “We have reasons to believe that she was not recruited inside Pakistan,” says a senior officer in R&AW. “Possibly she was picked up and nurtured either in Baghdad or Kuala Lumpur where she was posted earlier.” The agency also says this could have been a reason why she was keen for a Pakistan posting — usually a last choice among Indian diplomats and intelligence officials.

Vishnu Prakash, a spokesman for India’s Ministry of External Affairs, says that Gupta “is co-operating with the investigations and inquiries.” Sources told TIME that she has told interrogators that she spied for Pakistan to settle scores with senior Indian diplomats who mistreated her during her early career. She has also reportedly confessed that a prominent Pakistani journalist put her in touch with Pakistani intelligence officers.




  1. C’mon India RAW and Parliament should be setup in Bollywood because they keep coming with stupid dramas that can only be staged at Bollywood. The dramas like parliament attack, bombay and now this fraud spy story cannot fool wise people of the world anymore. But it gives an indication that india might be preparing another staged drama like bombay soon as their RAW story writers come up with stupid stories like that all the time. They may as well setup their head offices in Bollywood. The main reason india is doing that is to avert pressure from america to talk to pakistan. Who cares india even if they come to the dialogue table they never want to solve major issues such as kashmir so why we wasting our time trying to talk to the one of the biggest terrorist country india who has been killing kashmiris, blasting bombs in pakistan through its terror cells in afghanistan and its the biggest thief of water also who is stealing our water. In Afghanistan it has nefarious goals such as setting up thier terror network against the countries of the region specially pakistan and china and trying to lure brave afghanis with their investment but the indian don’t do things for humanity but for controlling afghanistan and its resources. If india is investing in afghanistan for helping its people how come its not helping its own people so obviously banya has planned to control afghanistan but it will fail as no power soviet or america was able to control it how hindu would be able to do that and it will be kicked out soon. Pakistani leadership should just tell india to stop all bullshit leave kashmir and stop stealing our water otherwise we will take thier case to UN and if no action is taken by them then pakistan should reply india tit for tat as they will never come to the table for honest talk.

  2. “Over the next six months, Gupta’s every step was monitored. She was found to be taking undue interest in informal discussions among the senior embassy officials regarding important policy matters, including India’s strategic plans in Afghanistan and resuming a dialogue with Pakistan. She was even fed with incorrect information to be passed on to her Pakistan handlers, suspected to be from the Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI).”


  3. this is more likely to be crap. when pakistan’s ISI and IB work, things do not come out in the open like this and RAW can’t get a least sniff of it. there’s no need to magnify this so-called incident. there’s alot going on to malign the pakistani armed forces and intelligence agencies.

    • It’s not always about YOUR army and YOUR intelligence agencies…. this is an expose of how lax our agencies are…

      Either way – the problem has been solved 🙂

      • Well.. How about your problem working in ISLAMABAD, which by the way is MY CITY in MY COUNTRY?

        you wont have any issues with ISI working in ure city then..should u?


      • LOL @ asim

        guess that should shut him up but never mind, not likely.

        ISI can make india size of srilanka if it wants to.

      • Yes,it seems to be crap.Look at the timing,just when both PMs were to meet.Cheap tactics.

  4. So much for the IT superpower which did not even have Close Circuit TV cameras inside the Embassy:)

  5. India ” TOLERATED ” Smugglers, Criminals, Gangsters, Corrupted, Black Marketers in Politics and many we see them today as our MLA’s and MP’s. ” JAISA RAJA WAISI PRAJA ” This reflects the work for Compromising with Clean Chits and Officials follows their boses. Besides Indian Consulate in PAK its now time to see how much more Diplomats Overseas & Govt Officials in India is ” INFECTED & BUGED ” by ISI through Dawood’s Network. Madhuri show no Remorse on Suicidal SPY Mission. Indian Authorities must be careful to GRILL other RAW Officers on her Statements. Because of all this Dirty & Corrupted people in Politics and Govt Offices, INDIAN SECURITY and ARMY is paying the price with their lives to save Country. All Old and Out dated laws must be made strict on Terrorism, Moles and Traitors. Indian ” MATAHARI ” Madhuri Gupta must be given Death Penalty by Firing Squad.

  6. RAW really are living up to their name, they certainly have not matured yet in the art of espionage.

    RAW has been penetrated by several other countries. Apparantley this is a first by Pakistan or so we are told.

  7. @Asim and ana’ab this Nik who is mentally sick and Abused never learn as you rightly mentioned the superpower of ignorance doesn’t even have close circuit tv which it probably has but as they just want to create dramas so they can malign pak army and isi. They are jealous idiots and burning in hell so let them burn, lalaji keep burning, you burn your dead anyway. Burn in jealosy for ever the superpower of terrorism and ignorance india shame on you for killing innocent kashmiris and stealing our water.

  8. We should not get too excited about our ability to plant a mole in the Indian Embassy. Ask any senior Pakistani Intelligence Official , he will tell you that there are hundreds of moles in Pakistani government, in almost every depart of the government. Very few of them have ever been caught. These are high positions moles, working for foreign governments for money and sometimes for Green Cards.

    One more important about this Indian diplomat. What we have been hearing from Indian side is nothing about a red herring. They are saying that the Indians caught this woman after becoming suspicious of her activities. Well ask any Intelligence Officer. The moles usually don’t get caught because of their reckless behavior or the counter intelligence efforts but in most cases some one within the recruiting agency of the mole, tips off the other party. Mole Vs Mole.

    ISI must do an internal investigation to find if someone in the agency tipped the Indians off about this asset.

  9. I don’t think she was tracked for six months. She was rather abruptly called back on a fake consultation and immediately arrested. Indians probably just knew about her being a mole only a few days ago. How did they know is not clear. May be something to do with the two ex-military officials in FATA by unknown Asian Tigers oerganization!

  10. Amused is a typical abusive Hindu towards others

    LOL..Oh’typical Hindu dude you really think so?
    “Consider your answer once more time before Paks have a last laugh at your whole Indian being”..:))

  11. […] Behind India’s Bust Of A Pakistan Spy […]

  12. @incredible pakistanis…couldnt u find more suitable nick or u hate our abilities so much that u spill ur emotions in ur nick..plzz tell ur manmohan and bal thackeray that ur dirty tricks of stealing water,sending agents,funding terrorist,violating every kind of rule to kill pakistanis and then do the worst acted drama of mumbai worst then amitabh`s s”sholay” film…plzz u guys get a life…we in pakistanis hate u for geniune reasons..a super power is identified not only by its missile but also by its attitude..and ur attitude is same as israel..through deception shall have victory..u guys have made unrepairable damages to ur relation with ur neighbours..i guess if ashoka was alive today he might have taken a visa to USA..coz this is not 200 BC…this is 2010 AD…and if u even think of taking one inch of our territory…we will kick ur a** and soon all u guys will be demoted to a position which requires touching sh*t with ur hands..so back off indians…think of building ur akhand bharat on ps3..neither u have will power nor u have courage to fight pakistanis..u can buy a few higher ups in our govt to be submissive to u but ur govt very well knows that pak army will not fight alone in next war…infact tribal people from northern areas(who voluntered at the time of mumbai) will be more than happy to repeat the episodes of mahmud ghaznavi..besides how can u forget history…how can u forget that mahmud ghaznavi didnt come along but bring his freinds too from FATA..so happy holidays..the monster u created in bangladesh(communists=maoist) and in FATA and balochistan(fake ttp,not real afghan taliban)…both of ur plans have back fired u..plzz if ur women wants to marry some pakistanis…plz take appointment,we will find some guys for ur women:):):)

  13. Only time Bharat would denounce their own spy is when they get get caught setting up a terror network. This is a defensive move.

  14. The most stupid piece of info in this charade is “that she used her office computer to send emails to his handlers”.

    What do they think ISI is so unprofessional. 🙂

  15. I agree with the first comment

  16. Madhuri show no Remorse on Suicidal SPY Mission

  17. First of all let me clarify that I am neither a Pakistani nor an Indian. I am a Chinese living in India for past couple of years. Before moving to India in 2001, I lived in Pakistan for about 6 years.

    I seriously think that it is high time for India and Pakistan to assess the reality, especially Pakistan.

    You guys really need to learn a lesson from China growth story. This year China overtook Japan to become the second largest economy in the world and in another couple of years it is expected to overtake the United States!

    Yeah, I know that Indians on this forum would argue that India is growing at 8% and Pakistanis would say that things are improving in Pakistan. My response to Indians would be to go few years back when India and China had the same GDP. Today China’s GDP is almost four times that of India. What went wrong with India? Have you guys ever thought about it? NO!

    Having stayed in Pakistan for six years I can confidently say that this country is making absolutely no progress, rather I would like to say that it is de-progressing. Ordinary citizens are under tremendous pain in Pakistan. It is a time for Pakistan to realize that they have been used by the US and China for their own interests. Absolutely in USE AND THROW manner! Today Pakistan has become extremely unsafe and dangerous place to live. In that sense I would say that India has marched well ahead of Pakistan. Be it stock markets, computers, machineries…India is making is presence felt. Pakistan is no where on the scene. Having travelled all over the world, I can confidently say that today Indians and Chinese have become front runners in the US, UK, Canada and Australia. You can find Indians and Chinese sitting at top posts in many companies in developed parts of the world; however, there are barely handful of Pakistanis who are doing decent jobs in developed countries.

    To put in plain and simple language, my advice to Indians and Pakistanis would be to stop fighting and start facing the reality. It is wake up time for ya kids!!

    • @Ma Long,

      Welcome to a Pakistani forum.We value sincere advice from our Chinese friends.You know what we say about our relations with our greatest friend, China,let me tell you.

      Pakistan-China friendship is:
      Sweeter than honey,
      Higher than Everest
      Deeper than the sea.

      This is the old site and no new articles are being placed here.You are welcome to the new site:


      This means Allah is our Protector.

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