Delhi

‘Pak. High Commission staffer Akhtar was a spymaster’

The area in Chandni Chowk, which was stated as his address on the card. Photo: Special arrangement, Sushil Kumar Verma  

Pakistan High Commission staffer Mehmood Akhtar, who ran an espionage ring in India, was an Hawaldar in the 40 Baloch Regiment three years ago when the ISI was scouting for spies to be deployed in India.

He was the best among several prospective spies the ISI had shortlisted. “He was selected as an ISI agent after a rigorous test in January 2013,” said Ravindra Yadav, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime), here.

Akhtar was sent to India in mid-2014 as a staffer with the High Commission and attached with the visa desk. “In this particular espionage module, Akhtar was ISI’s main man in India. He was to scout for potential spies among Indians applying for a Pakistan visa,” said Mr. Yadav.

The Ministry of External Affairs, however, said Akhtar was in the trade section of the High Commission.

Akhtar had allegedly travelled to States such as Rajasthan and Gujarat in search of potential spies. “There are many more spies working for Akhtar. We are on their trail,” said Mr. Yadav.

One of his main men in India was Shoaib, a visa agent in Jodhpur. “Akhtar had approached Shoaib as he knew he was in touch with several persons seeking visa to Pakistan. He passed on the baton of scouting for spies to Shoaib, who was apprehended by the Rajasthan Police late Thursday afternoon, and is being brought to Delhi for interrogation,” said Mr. Yadav.

Akhtar mostly chose tourist spots in the Capital to meet his Indian “spies” and collect defence related documents from them and make the payments.

He organised at least one such meeting with each of his spies every month, the police said, adding that the last meeting on Wednesday was held outside the Delhi Zoological Garden.

Seeking information

His “spies” were allegedly asked to get in touch with the serving as well as retired personnel from the Army and the BSF for information on deployment of forces along the border, the weak points, security loopholes and a list of officers transferred, among others.

“The aim was to find points through which terrorists could infiltrate into India and carry out Pathankot-like attacks,” said a senior investigator.

Akhtar and his spies never discussed business on phone. They had certain code words about where and when to meet. For these purposes, he had assumed an Indian identity, the police said.

So, when Akhtar was caught with the defence related documents on Wednesday morning, he produced an Aadhaar card, which showed him as Mehboob Rajput, a resident of Chandni Chowk, said the police.

“Initially, Akhtar continued to insist he was a Rajput, but when faced with arrest, he immediately shed his false identity and claimed diplomatic immunity,” said Mr. Yadav.

The police said the Aadhaar card was either forged or obtained on a fake identity.

“We reached out to the Aadhaar card-issuing authorities, but they were reluctant to share data about the person,” said an investigator.


Our code of editorial values

null
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Jan 22, 2022 3:21:21 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/%E2%80%98Pak.-High-Commission-staffer-Akhtar-was-a-spymaster%E2%80%99/article16084421.ece

Next Story