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Wednesday, Oct 16, 2019

Pakistani man who said he was ISI spy made up story to settle in India: Sources

IB sources continue interrogation of Pakistani passport-holder who identified himself as a Pakistani spy

india Updated: Apr 29, 2017 23:50 IST
Appu Esthose Suresh
Appu Esthose Suresh
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Ahmed walked over to a helpdesk at the Delhi airport on Friday and is said to have identified himself as a Pakistani spy, seeking asylum in India.
Ahmed walked over to a helpdesk at the Delhi airport on Friday and is said to have identified himself as a Pakistani spy, seeking asylum in India. (File photo)

Government officials said on Saturday they are almost certain that a man who turned up at the Delhi airport a day earlier and identified himself as a hit man of Pakistan’s ISI is not a spy but had cooked up the story to gain asylum in India.

Ahmed Mohammed, 38, arrived on a Dubai-Kathmandu Air India flight with a stopover at the Indira Gandhi International Airport on Friday morning before he approached a money-changer, telling the staff posted that he wanted to give up spying and stay in India.

Mohammed was questioned by officials of India’s domestic and external spy agencies, and a decision will be made on Monday on whether to deport him to Dubai or inform the Pakistan high commission to give him consular access.

Indian officials tapped into sources in Dubai and other friendly intelligence agencies to verify Mohammed’s identity and claims.

“He is basically a bookie. He was a cloth trader till 2015, and is only a 10th pass,” a source at the Intelligence Bureau (IB), the domestic spy agency, told Hindustan Times on the condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to speak on journalists.

“He is under medication for neurological problems following an accident seven months ago. He talks of illusions and does not seem to be an agent in any way.”

Mohammed carried a Pakistani passport – KF 088779 – which showed his date of birth as July 9, 1978 and his residence in Gulshan Colony of Faisalabad, the third-most populous city in Pakistan.

This is the first time someone has made such a claim, in such a manner, leaving Indian security officials in a procedural quandary. There have been instances of alleged spies approaching Indian missions abroad.

Mohammed is in the custody of the IB’s counter-espionage group. Usually, the IB passes along intelligence inputs to police, who then apprehend suspects.

But Mohammed has not violated any Indian law. He has a valid transit visa and was apprehended within the immigration gate. He is not wanted in India for any crime.

A senior intelligence official, who has worked on the Pakistan desk, said, “Normally in the intelligence world, we look for his utility and once his bona fides are established, we offer him a new identity, citizenship and security.”

But none of this applies to Mohammed, who reportedly told his interrogators that he works for the ISI but wants to work for India now.

News reports quoted Mohammed as revealing that the ISI had kept his family captive to prevent him from quitting his job as a hired assassin.

Both India and Pakistan frequently announce arrest of each other’s spies but instances of such agents turning themselves in to an enemy country is rare.

The incident comes on the heels of a Pakistani military court sentencing an Indian national, Kulbhushan Jadhav, to death for spying. India denies those charges.

First Published: Apr 29, 2017 18:48 IST

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