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Espionage busted: IB should be smarter

[dropcap]O[/dropcap]n Thursday, two persons were arrested by the Crime Branch of Delhi Police for selling the information related to the BSF and Indian Army’s deployment in the border areas surrounding Pakistan. Several defence related maps and secret documents were recovered from the two spies, this is what police has claimed. Maulana Ramzan Khan and Subhash Jangir, both are the residents of Nagaur in Rajasthan. Khan is a teacher in a mosque there and Jangir ran a local business that was suffering heavy losses. The police also nabbed a Pakistan High Commission staffer when he was receiving secret documents from the two persons. However, the staffer, who was an ISI agent, was let off after he claimed diplomatic immunity. Meanwhile, Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit was summoned to the Ministry of External Affairs and Foreign Secretary Jaishankar told him that Akhtar has been declared persona non grata for espionage activities. The arrested men have spoken about the possibility of the BSF personnel being honey trapped into sharing defence related information.

Akhtar was a Hawaldar with the 40 Baloch Regiment and he was roped in by Pakistan’s espionage outfit ISI after a rigorous test. When questioned about his identity, he produced an Aadhar card that showed he is a resident of Delhi’s Chandni Chowk. The card, however, turned out to be a fake one and Akhtar confessed to being a staffer of the Pakistan High Commission and claimed diplomatic immunity when faced with arrest. The Delhi Police then contacted the Ministry of External Affairs who, in turn, contacted the Pakistan High Commission officers, who confirmed that Akhtar is working with them. India subsequently asked three officials of the Pakistani mission to leave within 48 hours.

India’s decision to expel a visa official of the Pakistani mission on charges of espionage is just the latest in a long list of actions taken against diplomatic staffers by both countries. As far back as November 1963, Abdul Majid, a driver at the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi, was arrested by Delhi Police on charges of obtaining secret information from an office assistant in India’s Defence Ministry.

In December 1988, India expelled Brig. Zaheer Abbasi, the Pakistan Army attaché, after a Delhi Police team caught him in a hotel handing over Rs. 25,000 for secret documents. In October 1997, Pakistan expelled SK Chaudhury from the Indian High Commission in Islamabad and India retaliated calling for the withdrawal of Murad Baloch from the Pakistani mission in New Delhi.

In February 2000, India expelled three Pakistani diplomats because of “activities incompatible with their official status”. In December 2001, India recalled its ambassador to Pakistan in response to an attack on its Parliament by militants from Pakistan-based groups and both countries cut the size of staff at their diplomatic missions. In May 2002, our country expelled Pakistani envoy Ashraf Jehangir Qazi as tensions spiked as India accused Islamabad of backing militants who attacked an army camp in Kashmir.

In January 2003, India expelled four members of the Pakistani mission in New Delhi, including first Secretary Mohammed Asif, senior and counsellor Muzaffar Sayeed, as they had been found “indulging in activities incompatible with their official status”. The move followed allegations that the most senior Indian diplomat in Islamabad had been harassed by Pakistani authorities.

In February 2003, Jalil Abbas Jilani, then charge d’affaires or the number two at the Pakistan high commission, was expelled along with four others because their activities were not in line with their diplomatic status. Pakistan retaliated by expelling India’s acting High Commissioner to their country Sudhir Vyas and four officials in the mission in Islamabad, including first Secretary Rahul Rasgotra. Jilani, who was accused of providing Rs. 3 lakh to separatist Kashmiri leaders, went on to become Pakistan’s foreign secretary, and on August 2006 Pakistani expelled Deepak Kaul, a counselor at the Indian High Commission in Islamabad, after accusing him of possessing sensitive documents. Kaul denied the allegation and said he was unlawfully detained and interrogated while driving from Islamabad to Lahore. India retaliated by expelling Syed Muhammad Rafique Ahmed, a counsellor in the Pakistan mission in New Delhi. Later in 2010 April, Delhi police’s Special Cell arrested Madhuri Gupta on 22nd April 2010, she was posted as second Secretary (press and information) in the Indian High Commission in Islamabad. According to the chargesheet filed by the police in 2010, she was involved in a relationship with Jamshed, an ISI official, whom she planned to marry. She was accused of passing on sensitive information to the ISI agent. On an average every year one spy of Pakistan is been nabbed in India and deported or arrested in India. Indian Government needs to be little strict, as these members are caught by the Indian agencies. Definitely, there are many planning to disrupt the peace in our country. Indian intelligence needs to be more smarter and aggressive to tackle them.

(Any suggestions, comments or dispute with regards to this article send us on [email protected])

Dr Vaidehi Taman
Dr Vaidehi an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with Honourary Doctorate in Journalism, Investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical Hacker, Philanthropist, and Author. She is Editor-in-Chief of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. for 11 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, monthly magazines like Hackers5, Beyond The News (international) and Maritime Bridges. She is also an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester which caters to her freelance jobs.

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