'MP men held in Punjab unlikely to have ISI links'

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Bhopal
  • Updated: Nov 12, 2014 18:05 IST

The Madhya Pradesh Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) has refused to believe that the two men from the state in custody of Punjab Police could be spying for Pakistan, though the agency has suggested the duo's involvement in the smuggling of black scorpions.

Shiv Narayan Chandravanshi, 43, and Arjun Malviya, 35 – both hailing from Madhya Pradesh – were arrested by Punjab Police in Ferozepur district on Saturday night on suspicion that they were ISI agents. Currently, they are being interrogated by Punjab Police as well as other agencies, including MP ATS.

According to ATS sources, Chandravanshi and Malviya had confessed to having links with a woman in Pakistan but they denied sharing any confidential information with the woman. The agency has sent a team to Ferozepur for interrogation of the arrested persons.

Read:Spies or smugglers, ATS working on a jigsaw puzzle

"It seems they are just black scorpion smugglers, and they have nothing to do with ISI. We have interrogated them. They were in regular touch with a woman of Pakistan through internet, but nothing was recovered from them which could establish that they were spying," said a senior ATS officer, wishing not to be named.

"They have shared photographs with woman, but personal photographs," said another ATS officer. ATS chief Sanjeev Shami, however, said the two men could not be given a clean chit, as the investigation was on.

"It is too early to comment that they are not ISI agents. Let the Punjab police and other agencies interrogate. Though, there is very less possibility of spying," Shami said.

Chandravanshi and Malviya landed in the Punjab police net when the owner of the guest house where they were staying got suspicious about their activities and informed the police. The police recovered 45 black scorpions from them.

MP ATS sources said the accused were supposed to hand over black scorpions to a local contact at the behest of Pakistani woman for money, but the local contact did not turn up.

Following this, they called up the woman with whom they used to have chat on social media (Facebook and Whatsapp) and she had told them to stay two-three more days. The police have registered a case under IPC section 121 (waging or attempting to war against the government) and also section 11 of wildlife act.

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