New Delhi: The arrest of an ISI agent in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, this January has led to the apprehension of another agent recruited by the Pakistani spy agency in Gujarat’s Kutch district.
On January 19, the Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) in a joint operation with the Military Intelligence (MI) had arrested Mohammad Rashid who was accused of passing on information to his handlers in Pakistan since March 2019.
On Sunday, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested Rajakbhai Kumbhar from Kumbhar Vas village whose lead came from the case related to Rashid.
Official sources said in July 2019, MI received an input regarding Rashid passing critical information to Pakistani intelligence agencies via WhatApp.
After several months of surveillance and investigation, it had emerged that 23-year-old Rashid, a resident of Chaurhat Padao in Uttar Pradesh’s Chandoli district, used to fix flexi signboards for a living.
He visited his relatives in Karachi in 2017 and 2018-19 and stayed with his aunt Hasina, her husband Shagir Ahmed and their son Shajeb in Orangi Town (one of the largest slums in the world).
Rashid told his interrogators that he fell in love with one of his cousins, Anam, there.
During his second visit, Shajeb introduced Rashid to two ISI personnel who in turn introduced them as Ashim and Amad. The two cultivated Rashid and tasked him to provide Indian numbers for their use on WhatsApp and pass on photos, videos or any other information on the movement and deployment of Army units.
He was also tasked to send similar information on sensitive places and protests or rallies in India. They promised him money and assured to help him marry his cousin in Karachi. Rashid agreed to work for them and continued to remain in frequent communication with his handlers.
On his return, Rashid provided One Time Password (OTP) of two Indian mobile numbers to Ashim and Amad and helped them in creating two WhatsApp accounts on Indian numbers. These WhatsApp accounts were later used by Pakistani agencies to trap Indian defence personnel. He also shared photos and videos of several places having bearing on Indian security.
He received a gift packet containing a t-shirt in Pakistan’s national colours in May 2019 and a payment of Rs 5,000 two months later from Ashim and Amad.
He also spoke to their boss (likely an officer) once in October-November 2019 who asked him to acquire a shop near Army installation in Jodhpur to monitor movements of the latter.
He was assured a sum of Rs 1,00,000 and monthly rental of Rs 10,000-15,000 for the same.
Further investigation revealed that the accused Kumbhar worked as an ISI agent and transferred an amount of Rs 5,000 through Paytm in the account of a person named Rizwan, which was further handed over toRashid.
The amount was remitted on the directions of ISI handlers in lieu of the information supplied by Rashid to Pakistani agents.
The NIA conducted a search at Kumbhar’s house on August 27 and seized several incriminating documents from the spot.
The agency is investigating the case further.
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