Greed prompted arrested Indians to work for ISI
New Delhi, Oct 27 (IANS) They took Rs 40-50,000 each time they passed on information about Indian military camps to the ISI agent posted in the Pakistan High Commission. The going was good — until Delhi Police busted the ring, arresting a Pakistani diplomat and two Indians.
Maulana Ramzan and Subhash Jangir, now in custody, and Sohaib Nagaur, on the run, formed a well-knit group that was on the payroll of Mehmood Akhtar, who worked in the visa section of the Pakistani High Commission.
The job of the Indians was to secure information and documents related to deployment of the army and Border Security Force (BSF) along the Rajasthan and Gujarat border.
On Thursday, their luck ran out. When Maulana, who worked in a madrassa, and Jangir were set to meet the Inter-Services Intelligence agent outside the gate of the Delhi Zoo, the Crime Branch of Delhi Police netted them.
In the process, officials here believe they may have averted a possible terror attack in Rajasthan and Gujarat on the likes of the one which took place at the IAF base in Pathankot in Punjab in January this year.
According to informed sources, it was in mid-April that the Intelligence Bureau alerted Delhi Police about the spy ring. The Intelligence Bureau had been tracking for months the Pakistani diplomat, who used to make contact with Indians from the visa section.
All three Indians linked to the Pakistani diplomat were from Rajasthan.
“They were given Rs. 40-50,000 every time for sharing documents having secret information of border areas,” Ravindra Yadav, Joint Commissioner of Police, told IANS. “If they provided more valuable information, they got extra money.”
It is not clear as of now how much money had changed hands.
After his arrest on Wednesday morning, Akhtar first claimed he was an Indian and flashed an Aadhar Card issued in the name of Mehboob Rajput, said to be a resident of Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi.
But once he was put under sustained interrogation, he cracked.
Akhtar has been on deputation to the ISI since January 2013. He is a Hawaldar of 40 Baloch Regiment of the Pakistan Army and a native of Kahuta village in district Rawalpindi.
He was posted in the Pakistan High Commission for about two-and-a-half-years.
On Thursday, India declared him person non grata and told him to leave India by Friday. Pakistan predictably protested the decision, claiming he was innocent.
Official sources say more arrests are likely in the case.
The police seized several military related maps, deployment charts of border areas, details of serving and retired BSF personnel as well as visa related documents from the arrested persons.
The sources said that Maulana used to try to recruit poor people coming to the madrassa by promising them money if they worked for him.
There is also a fear that they may have honey-trapped some middle-ranking BSF officers in the border areas.
(Rajnish Singh and Sanjeev Pal can be contacted at rajnish.s @ians.in and firstname.lastname@example.org)