BHOPAL: Madhya Pradesh police’s anti-terror squad (ATS) has arrested 11 persons for allegedly running an international call racket that helped Pakistan’s ISI to spy on India’s military operations.
A relative of a ruling BJP councillor is among those arrested.
MP ATS chief Sanjeev Shami who led the operation, told the media,
“Two men were arrested in Jammu in November ’16 for collecting and using information of strategic interests for espionage. They were being funded by a person in Satna. Five persons from Gwalior, three from Bhopal, two from Jabalpur and one from Satna arrested.”
According to India Today reports, State Congress chief Arun Yadav said, “One of the arrested is Jitendra and he is the elder brother of the husband of sitting BJP corporator from ward number 58 Vandana Satish Yadav. He is also closely associated with Union Minister Narendra Tomar and MP Minister Maya Singh.”
Shami said the accused converted internet calls to cellular network and acted as medium for overseas handlers to contact people in India.
ISI agents nabbed in Madhya Pradesh. One of them is a BJP member, close to CM Shivraj Chauhan. These guys preach nationalism to others. pic.twitter.com/unL606jO34
— Mohammad Anas (@anasinbox) February 10, 2017
“Investigations revealed that Satna (MP) resident Balram was funding the activities of the duo held in Jammu. Balram, who was in constant touch with Pak-based handlers, used multiple bank accounts to fund the anti-national operations of the duo arrested last year in Jammu,” Shami said.
Police said that the gang was busted based on interrogation of two ISI operatives, Satwindar and Dadu, arrested from RS Pura area of Jammu district in November 2016. They had sensitive information on defence installations and camps, besides other matters of strategic importance to handlers in Pakistan.
Balram and other gang members were running many parallel telephone exchanges in Bhopal, Gwalior, Jabalpur and Satna. These exchanges were used by Pak handlers to send money into the bank accounts of Balram. This was then sent to the two ISI agents in Jammu.
The accused used SIM boxes( which house SIM cards), and other equipment to mask the identity of callers from Pakistan and other countries.
A similar spying racket was busted by the Uttar Pradesh police ATS last month with the arrest of 11 people. The mastermind of that racket Gulshan Sen, a resident of Delhi’s Mehrauli area, is believed to be the common link between the UP and MP rackets, ATS sources said.
The overseas calls of handlers were converted into local calls using SIM cards obtained on fake ID proofs and also landline numbers. The calls were made via the internet and sent to SIM boxes which redirected the VoIP traffic onto mobile networks.
ISI agents used these exchanges to pose as senior army officers and call up military personnel in Jammu and Kashmir. The agents use to get details of strategic operations particularly in sensitive areas near the LoC.
“We’ve seized hundreds of SIM cards from the 11 men, who were running such parallel phone exchanges in different MP town. The role of employees of some telecom companies too is under the scanner and more arrests will be made in coming days,” said Shami.
With PTI inputs