New Delhi, August 12 (IANS): Nabbed in a crackdown on a multi-billion hawala racket operating in Delhi-NCR, Luo Sang, alias Charlie Peng, is suspected to be an agent of the Chinese intelligence service, the Ministry of State Security (MSS).
Luo Sang, who created the fake Indian identity of Charlie Peng through forged Aadhaar cards and travel documents, was earlier arrested by Delhi Police on charges of espionage in 2018, top intelligence sources revealed to IANS.
A permanent resident of Cheng Guan Ju in Tibet's Lhasa, Luo Sang had, around 7-8 years ago when in Lhasa, allegedly come in contact with the MSS, which functions as China's external intelligence agency. He was initially sent to Nepal where he was taken care of by officials of the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu. Trained in money exchange, hawala operations and accounts, he then came to India where he was ostensibly collecting information on whereabouts of key Tibetan refugees and people close to Dalai Lama in India, sources added.
On September 13, 2018, the Delhi Police's Special Cell arrested Luo Sang on charges of running a spy ring in India, and seized from him a forged Indian passport procured from Manipur. During his interrogation, it was discovered that he crossed into India in 2013 and first settled in Manipur. He married an Indian woman and lived in a rented house. The period spent in the northeastern state enabled Luo Sang to acquire an Indian identity, required for his further assignment.
A few years back, he shifted his base from Manipur to Delhi.
Sources said Luo Sang was familiar with Delhi and had been living in Dwarka before shifting to DLF Phase 5, Gurugram. It is suspected that he was being handled by the MSS from across the border.
In Delhi, he started gathering information on Tibetan people living in NCR. To camouflage his espionage operations, he got involved in money exchange and hawala operations. He was also collecting information on e-commerce companies and financial institutions.
The Special Cell team had recovered a Fortuner SUV, foreign currency and some important documents from Luo Sang when he was nabbed in 2018 on suspicion for visiting some sensitive places in Himachal Pradesh and border areas. Sources said that after he was produced in the court by Delhi Police, the Chinese agent used some "contacts" to procure bail, after spending months in jail.
On Tuesday, the Income Tax department had raided a few Chinese individuals and Indian professionals allegedly involved in money laundering and hawala transactions, and Luo Sang, who was one of the masterminds, was nabbed.
The department revealed that Luo Sang had created more than 40 bank accounts which were linked to several shell companies. It said that hawala operations were linked to transactions worth over Rs 1,000 crore and were done over a period of time. A thorough interrogation of Luo Sang is continuing by different central agencies.