A BSF constable and his cousin were arrested in Jammu and Kashmir on charges of spying for the ISI while three suspected agents of the Pakistani intelligence agency were caught in Kolkata, authorities announced on Sunday, blowing the lid off lurking threats to India’s national security and official secrets.
Acting on a tip, Delhi Police arrested head constable Abdul Rasheed who was posted with the BSF’s intelligence unit in Rajouri and Kafaitullah Khan, alias Master Raja, a library assistant at a senior secondary school in the Himalayan state.
Joint commissioner of police (crime) Ravindra Yadav said the two men were caught after officials “received a tip-off about anti-national activities sponsored by the Pakistan ISI” through some of their “civilian handlers and some security force personnel”.
New Delhi has for years accused the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Pakistani army of sponsoring terrorism in India and snooping on confidential information, charges that Islamabad denies.
Yadav said the two accused had collected “sensitive information” related to the deployment of armed forces and air force operations in Jammu and Kashmir. Kafaitullah visited Pakistan in 2014 where he came in touch with ISI agents who lured him with money to deliver information, the officer said.
“Kafaitullah was arrested from New Delhi railway station on November 26. Based on his interrogation, Abdul was arrested from J-K on Sunday,” said Yadav. “We recovered several documents linked to national security from Kafaitullah. We have arrested them under the Official Secrets Act.”
BSF IG (headquarters) Aditya Mishra said they received information from Delhi Police three days ago about one of their men being a suspect in the case.
“We questioned the suspect and prima facie, the allegations were found to be true. He was detained and handed over to police on Sunday,” he said.
The two men revealed they passed on the secret information through WhatsApp, Viber and other social networking apps, officials said.
Police believe Kafaitullah’s arrest is a major breakthrough because he has several contacts in the armed forces and was using them to gather information.
The three men nabbed in Kolkata on Sunday supplied sensitive documents and maps to the ISI of the Garden Reach Ship Builders and Engineers, a premier warship building company under the defence ministry, said officials.
“We have arrested the three on Sunday afternoon and recovered fake Indian currency notes worth Rs 5 lakh,” said Rajiv Mishra, joint CP (headquarters) of Kolkata Police.
“We have also found hand-drawn plans of warships and maps of the GRSE compound and the Netaji Subhash Dock.”
Police in Kolkata made the arrests after being tipped off by their counterparts in Uttar Pradesh who caught another suspected ISI agent in the Meerut Cantonment Area on Friday.
The men held in West Bengal’s capital have been identified as Irshad Ansari (52), his son Asfaq (23) and Mohammed Jahangir (48).
While Irshad is an active member of the port area’s labour union, Asfaq is a former general secretary of a reputed college’s students’ union backed by the ruling Trinamool Congress.
“We removed Asfaq from the post of general secretary of the college union two months ago owing to some of his questionable activities,” said Ashok Rudra, state president of Trinamool Congress Chhatra Parishad.