Claiming to have busted an espionage racket, the Uttar Pradesh ATS on Wednesday arrested a suspected ISI agent, and picked up another for questioning, from Faizabad.
On the basis of a tip-off by Aftab Ali during interrogation, the ATS arrested another ISI agent Altaf Bhai Qureshi from Mumbai. IG ATS Asim Arun said Qureshi was in hawala trade and provided money to Ali for sharing crucial information with his ISI handlers. The ATS has also seized ₹70 lakh from him.
Resident of Faizabad’s Khwaspura locality, Ali was arrested on a tip-off provided by military intelligence and state intelligence agency, said Arun.
“Ali was spying for Pakistan’s secret service, Inter Service Intelligence (ISI), for past three years,” claimed Arun.
The ATS officials claimed he was allegedly lured into ISI network by some officials of Pakistan high commission after his visa to meet his relatives was rejected thrice by the embassy.
“The ISI operatives, who were keeping vigil over Ali’s quest to visit Pakistan took advantage of his desperateness to visit the neighbouring country,” said an official. “The ISI operatives approached him over telephone in 2014 and offered him an assignment of clicking pictures of Faizabad Cantonment area and sending it to them. In return, they facilitated Ali’s visa application and got it approved,” he claimed.
Ali visited Pakistan twice since, in 2014 and 2016.
The ISI operatives also provided him some other facilities during his visit to Pakistan in 2014. They also paid him some money when he was returning to India after a few months stay.
“Ali was also in touch with an official in Pakistan embassy in New Delhi. The name of the official is being verified,” said Aditya Mishra, additional director general (ADG), law and order.
The ATS officials said one of Ali’s aides has also been detained for quizzing over the suspicion of his involvement in assisting him. “Based on the information extracted from Ali, the arrests of some more people from Faizabad and Lucknow are likely to take place,” said an official.
Ali had reportedly confessed that some people approached him during his visit to Pakistan and trained him for spying. Since then, he had been in continuous touch with ISI operatives and performing their different assignments. He had reportedly shared movement details of army troops and their strength in Faizabad and Lucknow with ISI handlers.
Ali confessed that he gradually got involved into spying actively as it helped him earn easy money.