In a joint operation with local police and the Jammu and Kashmir military intelligence unit, the Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) on Thursday arrested a suspected ISI agent from Pithoragarh. The accused Ramesh who was working as a cook in the Indian diplomat’s house concurred with the fact that he had bugged the diplomat’s house with help of ISI agents to pluck out information from the same.
“The accused Ramesh worked as a cook at the house of Indian diplomat in Pakistan and bugged his house with help of ISI to get information,” an official said.
Ramesh had worked in Islamabad for two years before returning to India in 2017, as revealed by Additional Director General (Law and Order) Anand Kumar and ATS IG Aseem Arun in a press conference. He reportedly got the job of a cook at the Indian diplomat’s house through his brother’s reference who works for the Indian Army.
According to police officers, Ramesh during his interrogation owned up that he was passing information about military installations in UP to the ISI. He also admitted that he used to go through the laptop, other electronic devices, diaries and files of the Indian Diplomat for whom he was working, to pass on information to ISI agents.
On further investigation, police established that Ramesh was under debt from banks and from money lenders. ISI agreed to pay him in dollars and had already paid him 1300 dollars for the service he was rendering to them instead. This helped him to almost repay off his entire loan amounting to rupees 8 to 9 lakhs.
The capture of a suspected terrorist from Uttar Pradesh’s Faizabad earlier this month led to his arrest. However, the police have denied there is any evidence that any officer in the embassy was involved.
Over the years many such incidents have grabbed the spotlight where ISI backed spies have been nabbed for allegedly transferring important information across the border. Not long ago the Hyderabad High Court had upheld the life imprisonment awarded to a Pakistan spy for allegedly transferring strategic defence information of India to Pakistani Army through mobile and emails.
In fact, in 2016 the Indian government had shared that more than 46 Pakistani spies had been arrested across India between the years 2013-16. Three Pakistani spies were nabbed in 2016 for getting information from people in BSF, taking the count higher.
As we dig into the past, we see innumerable such instances where ISI spies of both Indian and Pakistani origin have been caught for enkindling terror in India. Few such occurrences are stated below:
Way back in 2015 it was reported by Firstpost that Special Task Force of Kolkata Police had arrested a trio working as contract labourer of the Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Ltd for their alleged links to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence. In the same year, it was reported by News 18, how a Pakistani spy Kalam acquired full Indian identity and spied on IAF and Army installations. Trained in communication codes and military formation signs, Kalam was tasked by the ISI to target military and Air Force installations in Bareilly. Following his arrival in India, Kalam worked as a photographer in a studio in Bareilly while carrying on spying activities.
In a similar incidence recounted by Hindustan Times on 15th February 2017, a Pakistan spy Haji Khan had been passing on defence-related information to the ISI and two other agencies for the past three years. Khan passed important defence information to his wife living in Pakistan who further passed in on to the ISI. On being interrogated, he told the agencies his brother Jumme Khan, who also lives in Rahimyarkhan, had been caught by the ISI and in return of his release, the ISI forced him to make the defence-related information available to it.
Lately, as stated by Livemint on 30th March 2018, a man of Indian Nationality, who was allegedly working as a spy for Pakistani intelligence agencies, was arrested in Amritsar by the State Special Operations Cell (SSOC) and Military Intelligence. Police had then recovered photographs of vital installations, hand-made maps of restricted areas, photocopies of restricted training manuals of the Army and information regarding Army attack formations from him.
According to Indian security agencies, ISI has been using social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to honey trap people by operating a large number of fake Facebook accounts in the name of young girls who actively try to befriend with unemployed young people and retired/serving officials in the armed force and subsequently try to allure them into undercover activities.
Extensive investigations need to be conducted continuously to track down and curb these miscreants from conducting such ghoulish crime. The escapeway undoubtedly lies within our system, otherwise, how do these malefactors get access to such sensitive information, converging swiftly into our system defies any logic.