January 2002 News

Pak spy ring busted in AP

27 January 2002
The Pioneer
Omer Farooq

Hyderabad: The Andhra Pradesh police busted a major Pakistani spy ring by arresting two agents of Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) in Hyderabad and Nizamabad. The Hyderabad City Police arrested an ISI agent, Rayess Jan, from Lal Darwaza area while another operative Ashiq Ali alias Shahneel Taher was caught in Nizamabad on Saturday night when he was talking to his bosses in Pakistan from a public telephone booth. Senior police officials said that a serious threat to vital defence and military establishments, including the Missile development Centre, was thwarted. The police said both Rayees Jan and Ashiq Ali were part of a group that had been deployed in Hyderabad to gather information about the movement of Army Divisions and missiles as well as about various defence establishments. Ashiq Ali, who hails from Hussainabad in Sindh province of Pakistan, has been identified as the resident agent of ISI sent to Hyderabad to organise an ISI network and gather information about the Army movement and military establishments. The Nizamabad Superintendent of Police (SP) Dr Ravi Shanker Iyenar told newsmen in Nizamabad on Sunday that Ashiq Ali was arrested on Saturday night on a tip-off about his suspicious movements. The police has recovered some vital documents including photographs of the College of Military Warfare, Secunderabad. The police also found the printouts of the e-mails containing sensitive information about defence establishments in Hyderabad and Secunderabad. The ISI agent was using internet to supply the information to his bosses in Pakistan, the Nizamabad SP said. During interrogation, Ashiq Ali told the police that he was asked to collect information about the 54th Division of Army based in Secunderabad and movement of missiles from Hyderabad. It may be noted that the Defence and Research Development Organisation in Hyderabad is the main base of India's Integrated Missile Development program. Senior police and Counter Intelligence officials were still questioning Ashiq Ali about his activities and the persons with whom he had established contacts in Hyderabad. Police officials in Hyderabad said that Rayees Jan and two of his accomplices had fled from the religious centre or Jamat Khana of Ahmedia or Qadiani sect in Afzal Gunj on January 8 when the place was raided by the Counter Intelligence Cell of city police to arrest them. The police sources said that the information about the presence of these ISI agents had come from two different sources. Mohammed Dilshad, an ISI agent arrested in Siliguri and Maqsood, a hawala operator arrested in Delhi, has spilled the beans about the activities of these Hyderabad based ISI agents. Since then, the police has been after them. In what is being seen as a very extraordinary aspect of the ISI's strategy in India, both the operatives were asked by the ISI bosses to embrace the Ahmedia or Qadiani sect, which Muslims believe to be a non Muslim sect. According to the information provided by Ashiq Ali, after he was recruited in Military Intelligence based in Hyderabad Cantonment, Sindh in April last year, he was imparted training in the craft of military intelligence for forty days, and in July 2001 he came to India via Attari on a tourist visa. On reaching Delhi he destroyed his Pakistani passport and other documents and met Kaleemuddin Ahmed and Inayatullah of Ahmedia Sect in Delhi and 'embraced' the Ahemdia sect. A few days later he reached Hyderabad and settled in Jamat Khana of Ahmedia sect and started gathering information about Army bases in the Golconda Fort area and Secunderabad Cantonment in Hyderabad. He also told the police that he was reporting to one Major Chowdhry Zaid Ahmed at Hyderabad Cantonment in Pakistan. The police also learnt that he was receiving money from ISI through hawala channels. He received Rs 5,000 from Maqsood in Delhi and a DD of Rs three thousand from Dilshad. Ashiq Ali told the police that his family in Sindh was being paid Rs five thousand per month by the Pakistani Military Intelligence authorities. After the arrest of Maqsood at Delhi in December, Ashiq Ali was asked by his Pakistani bosses to get out of Hyderabad. He went to Mumbai on December 15 and returned to Hyderabad on January 13. The Nizamabad SP said that Ashiq Ali reached Nizamabad on Saturday, which the police got wind of and were able to nab him. The police has also found telephone numbers of Pakistani officials in his diary. Meanwhile, Rayees Jan was being questioned by the police authorities in Hyderabad and was trying to find out whether they had recruited any local persons in their network. The police was trying to ascertain whether this ISI ring had anything to do with the last week's terrorist attack on the US Information Center in Kolkata. The Hyderabad City Police had made first attempt to nab Jan and others earlier this month but he had managed to escape from the Jamatkhana. Since then, the police was on the lookout for him. Finally, two days ago the police came to know about his presence in Lal Darwaza area of Hyderabad from where he was arrested. After completing of interrogation, Jan will be handed over to Kolkata Police, the sources said. Jan said he had been staying in the city for the last six months.


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