New Delhi: Days after the capture of ISI officer Mehboob Akhtar and the subsequent ordering out of India of the ISI officer, the Delhi Police has reportedly claimed that besides the four Pakistan high commission officials, there are at least 10 others who are tasked with gathering and sourcing information from Indians.
Reports surfaced on Tuesday claimed that Akhtar has revealed that he was a part of bigger espionage ring operating from the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi.
It's pertinent to mentioned that before he was ordered out of the country by the Ministry of External Affairs, Akhtar, in a videotaped statement to police, named four officials of the Pakistan mission — commercial counsellor Syed Farrukh Habib and first secretaries Khadim Hussain, Mudassir Cheema and Shahid Iqbal — as being part of the alleged spy ring.
But that's not the entire truth of his revelation. Akhtar, a former soldier with the Pakistan army's Baloch regiment, has reportedly told police that there were Indians who worked in Pakistan's interests.
Reports further claimed that police are trying to extract information from the Indian agents arrested as part of the investigation into the espionage ring.
"He has named a lot of people, but we need to establish it (the truth) through call detail analysis and other tools," said a senior police officer was quoted as saying to TOI.
Akhtar, who could not be interrogated in custody thanks to diplomatic immunity, was sent back to Pakistan soon after he was detained in Delhi.
Meanwhile, reports in Pakistan media on yesterday claimed that Islamabad is considering pulling out the diplomats from its mission.
The Dawn quoted a source at the Pakistan foreign office saying, "This is under consideration. A final decision would be taken shortly."
The publication also carried an interview with Akhtar, and he was quoted as saying, "They took me to a police station after detaining me where I was forced to read out a written statement provided by them in which the names of the four officers were given, and was told to state that they belonged to Pakistan's intelligence services."
On Thursday, India declared Akhtar 'persona non-grata' after he was caught receiving secret information about Indian military deployments from two Indians who were arrested.
"Today morning Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar summoned the Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit and informed him that India had intercepted an official of the Pakistan High Commission in the pursuit of espionage and that he was being declared persona non-grata," Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.
Swarup said Akhtar told the police that he had joined the Baloch Regiment of the Pakistan Army in 1997 and came on deputation to the Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) in 2013 and was posted in September 2013 to the Pakistan High Commission where he is presently working as Assistant to Farukh Habib, Counsellor (Trade).