Punjab Police busts cross-border espionage network, arrests two

The Punjab Police on Wednesday claimed to have busted a cross-border espionage network with the arrest of two people on the charge of spying for the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan.

According to an official statement, State Special Operations Cell (SSOC), Amritsar arrested Zaffar Riaz and his associate Mohd. Shamshad from Amritsar.

The Punjab Police on Wednesday claimed to have busted a cross-border espionage network with the arrest of two people on the charge of spying for the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan.

According to an official statement, State Special Operations Cell (SSOC), Amritsar arrested Zaffar Riaz and his associate Mohd. Shamshad from Amritsar.

While Riaz was a resident of Kolkata in West Bengal, Shamshad is a native of Madhuban in Bihar, but was living in Amristar’s Mirakot Chowk for the last 20 years, the statement said.

To break the nexus of Pakistan’s ISI and “traitorous persons” supplying classified information to compromise the sovereignty, integrity and security of the state, Punjab Police has busted a cross border espionage network, the statement said.

During preliminary investigation, it came to light that Riaz got married to Pakistan national Rabia, a resident of Model Town in Lahore, Pakistan.

Initially, Rabia stayed with Riaz in Kolkata but after his accident in 2012, he became financially weak and shifted to Lahore on the insistence of his in-laws.

Riaz frequently travelled to India for treatment, it said.

“During this period, he got in touch with a Pakistan Intelligence Officer (PIO) Awais who claimed to be working in Foreigner’s Registration Office, Lahore,” the statement said.

The accused was lured by Awais to work for the ISI and during his visits to India, he began clicking photographs and shooting videos of Indian Army buildings and sharing them via encrypted apps.

During preliminary inspection of his mobile phone, the photographs and videos were found, said the statement.

Riaz revealed that on the insistence of Awais, he introduced Shamshad to him.

“Shamshad revealed that he is living in Amritsar for the last 20 years and runs a lemonade cart opposite Amritsar railway station,” the statement said.

He clicked photographs of the Air Force station and Cantt area of Amritsar and shared them with Riaz who forwarded them to Awais, it added.

A case dated was registered on Wednesday under the provisions of the Official Secrets Act, and section 120 B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) at the SSOC Police Station, Amritsar.

Riaz and Shamshad will be produced before a court and their police remand will be sought, said the statement.

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