The Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terrorism Squad, in a joint operation with the Military Intelligence and the state intelligence unit, on Wednesday arrested a suspected agent of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence from Faizabad. Aftab Ali is believed to have been trained by the ISI and had been in touch with the Pakistan High Commission, Inspector General (ATS) Aseem Arun told PTI on Thursday.
In another joint operation on Wednesday, the Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra ATS arrested hawala operator Altaf Qureshi, who is also a suspected ISI agent, from Mumbai. Qureshi was taken into custody for allegedly depositing money into Ali’s bank account. He was arrested after his name cropped up in the ATS investigation into Ali’s case, according to the PTI report.
The arrests come weeks after the Uttar Pradesh Police had issued a warning of a possible attack in the state by ISI-trained agents. Pictures of the Army cantonment area in Faizabad were recovered from Ali’s phone, the inspector general said, adding that more arrests in the case were likely.
On Thursday, another suspected ISI agent was arrested in Mumbai, in a joint operation by the Mumbai Police and the Uttar Pradesh ATS, ANI reported. The suspect – identified as Javed – is believed to have provided Ali with money to share information with the ISI. The ATS seized Rs 70 lakh from him, Hindustan Times reported.
The Uttar Pradesh ATS has obtained transit remand of Javed and Qureshi. A Chief Judicial Magistrate Court has sent Ali to 14-day judicial custody.
Ali had allegedly been approached by ISI operatives over the phone in 2014 after his visa to meet his relatives in Pakistan was rejected by the high commission three times, an unidentified official told Hindustan Times. The Pakistani intelligence had asked Ali to send them pictures of the Faizabad Cantonment area in exchange for a visa to the country.
“He went to Pakistan once and possibly got indoctrinated there,” Addition Director General (Law and Order) Aditya Mishra said during a press briefing. However, other reports claimed that he had visited Pakistan in 2014 and 2016. Mishra told Hindustan Times that Ali had been in touch with an official in the Pakistan Embassy in Delhi whose name they were trying to verify. The suspect reportedly confessed during interrogation that he became a spy to “earn easy money”.