A former Indian Navy official arrested in Pakistan on charges of espionage is a businessman running a small shipping operation from Iranian ports to India, government sources said on Saturday, though there was no official word.
But, Pakistani media reported Kulbhushan Jadhav, a purported RAW agent, owned a jewellery shop in the Iranian port city of Chabahar.
“It is still not clear whether he was lured into Balochistan or picked up after he strayed into Pakistani territory -- land or water.
“India has sought consular access to him. We will have to wait till then,” said a senior security official on condition of anonymity. He was not authorised to speak to the media.
India has said the detained “individual has no link with (the) government since his premature retirement from Indian Navy”.
India’s involvement in the construction of Chabahar port remains an irritant for Pakistan. The strategically important port gives India a direct access to Afghanistan and other central Asian countries bypassing Pakistan.
The arrest coincides with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s trip to Islamabad and comes ahead of a Pakistani team’s visit to India for a probe into a suspected cross-border attack on an Indian airbase.
Pakistan army chief General Raheel Sharif called on the visiting Iranian president on Saturday, taking up the issue of Research and Analysis Wing’s (RAW’s) alleged interference in Balochsitan.
Pakistan army spokesperson General Asim Bajwa tweeted: “COAS (chief of army staff in his meeting with the Iranian President) highlighted challenges being faced by Pak & discussed involvement of RAW in Pak’s internal affairs specially in Balochistan (sic).”
Pakistan has repeatedly accused India’s external intelligence agency of fomenting unrest in Balochsitan, the country’s largest province, but it has never offered any evidence to back up its claims.
Pakistani media said the country has shared the details of the case with diplomats of six countries - the US, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany.
In Mumbai, police sources said a person staying in the house of Jadhav is a former police officer.
But, they did not confirm whether the arrested person is the son of the retired assistant commissioner.
A senior officer said they did not speak to anybody staying in the address that was mentioned in Jadhav’s passport seized by Pakistani authorities.
Another officer, however, confirmed the retired officer was posted in Mumbai and was known as ‘Rajkumar’ because of his style.