Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi interrupted a Parliament debate today to announce the arrest of officials in "sensitive positions," and police said seven people have been charged with spying.
One of those arrested was reportedly a senior official in Gandhi's office.
New Delhi Chief Magistrate Bharat Bhushan ordered seven people to be held in police custody and ordered all documents in the case sealed.
The Press Trust of India quoted police as saying they had broken up an espionage ring which was "passing on vital information regarding the country's defense to foreign countries." Those arrested included "some top defense and administrative officials, including one from the prime minister"s office," the news agency said.
Officials refused to name those arrested or the countries involved.
3 'Quite Senior Officials' An Indian intelligence official said "at least three quite senior officials" with access to information on atomic energy, electronics and defense establishments were taken into custody.
Other government officials have been detained for interrogation, he said.
Gandhi interrupted a debate on an anti-poverty bill to tell members of Parliament he wanted to take them into confidence on an important development that arose during a review of security and intelligence operations.
"It came to government's notice that certain employees in sensitive positions were suspected to be indulging in activities detrimental to national interest," Gandhi told Parliament.
'Highest Vigilance' "Some arrests have been made in the course of investigations which are still proceeding," he said.
Despite questions from an opposition member, Gandhi refused to give any further information on the case, saying it might hamper the investigation.
"Every government has to exercise the highest vigilance in regard to the protection of confidential information and intelligence," he said.
A review of intelligence and security operations was begun after the Oct. 31 assassination of Gandhi's mother, Indira Gandhi, by two members of her own security force.