New Delhi: Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) has arrested an alleged ISI agent who is claimed to have been working in Varanasi and passing on the information since March 2019.
According to sources, the military intelligence agencies received inputs regarding youth from Varanasi passing on critical information to his handlers and Pakistani Intelligence agencies over WhatsApp in the month of July last year, India Today reports.
Acting on the inputs through months of discreet surveillance a joint team of military intelligence and Uttar Pradesh ATS was set-up to identify the suspect on ground.
Weeks after physical surveillance and questioning of preliminary suspects, it was found Mohd Rashid was the suspect passing on information to his handlers in Pakistan.
An initial round of interrogation and examination of his mobile phone took place on January 16 and he was arrested on January 19.
According to sources, the suspect was reported living with his maternal grandfather and uncle in Chandauli, in UPs Varanasi district after his parents Mohd and Shehzadi Begum got divorced.
He was working at a tailoring unit and was only class 8 qualified, he also worked at a medicine store and later also started fixing flex signboards for a living.
It is reported that the suspect visited his relatives in Pakistan’ Karachi twice in 2017 and 2018-19 to attend some marriage functions where he stayed with his aunt Hasina, her husband Shagir Ahmed and their son Shajeb in Orangi Town in Karachi.
Police sources said the suspect fell in love with one of his cousins during his Karachi visit following which his cousin Shajeb introduced him to two ISI/Pakistani military intelligence personnel who introduced themselves as Ashim and Amad.
The two tasked him to provide them with Indian WhatsApp numbers for spying on movement and deployment of Army units and also providing with similar information on sensitive places and protests and rallies in India in exchange of letting him marry the girl as well as money.
The suspect, since then agreed to work for them and continued to remain in frequent communication with his handlers. He also provided them One Time Password for the Indian numbers after multiple warnings from his uncle and aunt in Karachi.
This enabled the handlers to create WhatsApp accounts on Indian numbers which were later used by the Pakistani agencies to trap Indian defence personnels.
He is claimed to have shared photos and videos of several sensitive places which includes Kashi Vishwanath temple – Air Force Selection Board, Gyanvapi Mosque, Sankat Mochan temple, Cantt railway station, Dashashwamedh Ghat in Varanasi, Agra Fort, Naini Bridge and Ardh Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj, CRPF camps in Chandauli and Amethi, Gorakhpur railway station, Renukoot Thermal Power Plant in Sonbhadra, India Gate in Delhi, Ajmeri Sharif in Rajasthan, Nagpur railway station in Maharashtra and others including the recent protests against the CAA/ NRC at Banaras Hindu University (BHU).
The suspect’s last known communication with his handlers was on January 13.
The suspect also received Rs 5000 money, a T-shirt from his handlers and also spoke to their boss once in October-November 2019.
The suspect has now been booked under Section 123 (concealing with intent to facilitate design to wage war) of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and is being produced before court.