Espionage case: Expelled Pak spy received sensitive ISRO info from source
Mehmood Akhtar was trying to gather classified information on the deployment of Indian security forces along the western coast.
New Delhi: Mehmood Akhtar, the Pakistan High Commission official who was caught for espionage, has claimed that he sourced “sensitive” information from an official associated with the prestigious Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
The Indian Express has quoted police sources as saying: “On being asked about his informers and sources, Akhtar disclosed the names of other ISI agents posted in the Pakistan High Commission and the name of an official with ISRO who provided sensitive details to him.”
Meanwhile, news agency PTI quoted a Home Ministry official as saying that Akhtar was trying to gather classified information on the deployment of Indian security forces along the western coast, possibly to carry out a strike similar to the 2008 Mumbai terror attack.
"There have been intelligence inputs that Pakistan's ISI was planning to send terrorists through the sea route to carry out a Mumbai-type terror attack in India. Akhtar's activities and his interests to gather information about the western coast buttress the intelligence inputs," the official said.
Before being let off because of diplomatic immunity, Akhtar confessed to police about his role in the spy ring. The Delhi Police has also done video-recording of his statement.
In his statement to police, Akhtar admitted that he was part of the spy ring for more than a year. He has named eight officers of the Pakistani High Commission whom he was reporting to with all the information but police were yet to take action against them as there was no direct evidence as of now.
The video-recording of his statement at the Delhi Police’s Inter-State Cell office in Chanakyapuri shows Akhtar “trembling” as police begin interrogating him in Hindi, reported the daily.
“He was uncomfortable at first but after drinking some water he calmed down. Officers told him they already knew about his operation and were only trying to corroborate the information they had,” the daily quoted a source as saying.
Sources added that Akhtar disclosed the names of Maulana Ramzan and Subhash Jangir — also arrested on Thursday — and revealed names of other alleged informants in India, including that of the ISRO official.
Acting on a tip-off, the Delhi Police on Wednesday nabbed Akhtar, along with Ramzan and Jangir, at Delhi Zoo while a visa agent from Rajasthan, Shoaib, had managed to escape.
Shoaib was detained near Jodhpur on Thursday evening and after being brought here, he was arrested.
While Akhtar was on Thursday declared persona non grata, Subhash and Maulana have been arrested on charges of passing on sensitive information and defence documents and deployment details of BSF along the Indo-Pak border.
They were later sent to 12-day police custody.