How ISI spy ring operated from Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi; all we know so far

An ISI spy ring operating from the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi has been busted by Delhi police.

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Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit hoisting his country's flag at the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi. (IE file photo)

An ISI spy ring operating from the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi has been busted by Delhi police. The ring included a Pakistan High Commission staffer identified as Mehmood Akhtar and two Rajasthan residents. While Akhtar was declared persona non-grata for espionage activities and asked to leave India immediately, the two Rajasthan residents, who used to pass sensitive defence information to Akhtar, were arrested. As usual, Pakistan cried foul, saying Akhtar was not involved in any espionage activity. However, documents seized from Akhtar by Indian officials suggested otherwise.

Here we present all the available information about the ISI spy ring, how it operated and how Indian officials managed to bust.

Who were members of the ISI spy ring?

The kingpin of the espionage racket was Mehmood Akhtar. Other two members were Maulana Ramzan adn Subhash Jangir, both residents of Nagaur in Rajasthan. Ramjan was a teacher in Madarasa, while Jangir was running a grocery shop. Both told police that they used to work for Akhtar for money as they were under debt.

How the spies conducted espionage activities?

Mehmood Akhtar, who used to work in the visa section of Pakistan High Commission, used to trap poor and needy people to work for the ISI by promising them money. The Indians were deployed to gather secret information about the secret movement of Indian forces. Akhtar used to meet the spies at some public place once in a month and pay them in lieu of the information.

From when the espionage activities were going on?

The espionage activities were conducted from the Pakistan High Commission for the last one-and-a-half year. Delhi police were monitoring the movement of the spies for the last six months.

What is the real identity of Mehboob Akhtar? 

Akhtar was a Havildar in the 40 Baluch Regiment of Pakistan Army. He was recruited and trained by the ISI three years ago. After the training, he was sent to Delhi to work in the visa section of the Pakistan High Commission.

How was Akhtar was nabbed?

Acting on inputs, Delhi Police crime branch took the staffer identified as Mehmood Akhtar in custody after he was found in possession of certain defence documents. Akhtar initially claimed he was an Indian citizen and showed an Aadhar Card bearing a Chandni Chowk address. However, when probed further for espionage, Akhtar claimed he enjoyed diplomatic immunity. Police then contacted foreign ministry and Pakistani officials identified him.

Mehboob Akhtar's fake Aadhar Card
Mehboob Akhtar’s fake Aadhar Card
Mehboob Akhtar's fake Aadhar Card
Mehboob Akhtar’s fake Aadhar Card

What documents were recovered from Akhtar’s possession?

Police found information related to the deployment of Indian Army-BSF in border areas. Akhtar had maps of BSF movement and the border area in his possession. He also had visa papers and money transfer documents. Police said the spies had even collected information about transferred and retired officers of the BSF.

Are more people involved in the spy ring?

Delhi police today said that some more names are also under surveillance. Police would make their name public when they find it fit. Police are also searching for a man named Shoaib, a visa-passport agent, who recruits spies for ISI in India.

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How police conducted the operation to bust the ISI spy ring?

Delhi police had received inputs on December 25 that the spies would meet at Delhi Zoo for sharing documents and money. The trio was nabbed at around 10 am on October 26.

What was Pakistan’s response after the spy ring was busted?

India’s foreign Secretary S Jaishankar summoned Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit to his office to convey India’s action following the brief detention of the staffer who was later released. Basit, however, Basit strongly protested with Indian Foreign Secretary the “detention and manhandling” of Pakistan High Commission staffer yesterday in violation of 1961 Vienna Convention, according to Pakistan Foreign Office. The Pakistani envoy also strongly rejected the accusations, terming them “false and unsubstantiated”.

(With agency inputs)

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First published on: 27-10-2016 at 16:38 IST