New Delhi: Delhi Police has arrested a Pakistan national working at the country’s High Commission in the national capital on charges of espionage, a move that is sure to set off a series of tit-for-tat arrests straining further the troubled relationship between the two countries.
However, he was let off after interrogation within hours owing to his diplomatic immunity and has been told to return to Pakistan immediately.
Addressing the media on Thursday post the arrest, Delhi Police said that Mehmood Akhtar was under watch for almost six months now and was held with classified documents and maps related to Indian Army’s defence positions.
Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has summoned Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India Abdul Basit with regard to the incident.
The Crime Branch has also arrested two persons, residents of Rajasthan, for allegedly passing on sensitive information to the staffer.
“The spies are residents of Rajasthan working for Pakistan’s ISI. The spies were in touch with the staff here at Pakistan High Commission and were providing sensitive information,” said a senior police officer.
Those arrested have been identified as Maulana Ramzan and Subhash Jangir are both residents of Lahore, Delhi Police officer Ravindra Yadav told the media.
“This module has been operating from the past 1.5 yrs. We have got input that they were working as a spys for the Pakistanis and they have been sharing documents with people in Pakistan. They were purposely placed in the visa section of the commission and would lure people into committing the espionage on behalf of Pakistan. They were also paid for their deed” Yadav added.
Sources claim the Central government was initially reluctant to give a go ahead for Akhtar’s arrest. The arrested staffer had been in touch with his local contacts for months to get sensitive information on defence and other issues.
In the past, such incidents have set off a series of retaliatory incidents with Pakistani sleuths on occasions even manhandling Indian staffers at the High Commission in Islamabad.
In November 2015, a spy ring associated with the Pakistan intelligence was busted and the police arrested at least five persons in connection with the case.