Two suspected agents of Pakistan's spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) were arrested in Mumbai in a joint operation by the Anti-Terrorism Squads of Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, an official said on Thursday.
While one of them, identified as Altaf Qureshi, was arrested late on Wednesday night from Masjid Bunder area in south Mumbai, the second operative, identified as Javed Naviwala, was taken into custody from Yusuf Manzil building at Agreepada on Thursday morning, PTI quoted an official as saying.
Thirty-seven-year-old Qureshi is a hawala operator and also allegedly worked for the ISI. Iqbal is an aide of Qureshi, the official said. Qureshi had allegedly deposited money in the bank account of Aftab Ali, another ISI agent, in Lucknow for carrying out espionage activities, he said.
Aftab was arrested from Faizabad in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday. ATS officials seized a cellphone and Rs 71.57 lakh in cash from Qureshi's house, who was in hawala business at the behest of one Javed Naviwala, the official said.
Javed used to get instructions from Pakistan
During the duo's interrogation, it was found that Javed used to get instructions from Pakistan and at his behest Qureshi often deposited money in Aftab’s bank account, he said. Javed was in constant touch with the ISI officials in the neighbouring country, he said.
During interrogation, names of some more persons cropped up, the official said, adding more arrests are likely. Aftab, booked under the Official Secrets Act, had allegedly passed on information about Indian Army’s movements to officers posted at Pakistan High Commission and also to the ISI, the official claimed.
He had allegedly provided information about the army's movements and units in Faizabad, Lucknow and Amritsar, he said. Qureshi and Javed will be produced in a Mumbai court for transit remand and taken to Uttar Pradesh for further interrogation, the official said.
The Asian Age quoted sources from the ATS and reported that Naviwala got a call a few days ago stating that a friend needed some money in Uttar Pradesh for charity so he should send Rs 15,000 to an account number that was given to him. Naviwala allegedly relayed the instructions to Qureshi and then wired the money to the account of Ali. "The Maharashtra ATS is currently obtaining details of all bank accounts held by Qureshi and Naviwala and examining the bank statements, after which the duo will be questioned as to the transactions that they have made over the years," The Asian Age report said.
However, Naviwala has allegedly confirmed to the Maharashtra ATS that he was given to understand that this money was to help a poor man meet his medical expenses. The Maharashtra ATS, however, is not buying the justification. "During interrogation, Naviwala claimed he was innocent. He said he had transferred the money into his relative's bank account assuming it was for a medical charity," an ATS officer was quoted as saying by The Times of India.
Speaking exclusively to The Asian Age, a source said, "I know Naviwala as a hawala and angadia trader since three years. I never heard of him having any terror links. I have heard from Naviwala that he may be having relatives in Pakistan."
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: May 05, 2017 16:46 PM