LUCKNOW: The Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terrorism Squad(ATS), in a joint operation with Military Intelligence, has unearthed an espionage ring by arresting a suspected ISI agent along with one of his accomplices in Faizabad, 128 km from state capital Lucknow, on Wednesday.
According to police sources, suspected ISI agent Aftab Ali, a native of Faizabad had been in constant touch with his masters in Pakistan. Ali had reportedly visited the neighbouring country five months ago and was sent back to India with the responsibility of providing vital information on important military and civil installations in UP.
Interrogation revealed Aftab had received training by ISI handlers in Pakistan. “Initially the suspected ISI agent was denied visa but later some Pakistani agencies pitched in and got it cleared for Aftab Ali,” said IG ATS, Asim Arun.
He added Aftab was believed to have received training in Karachi and had returned to India with the mandate of supplying information about Indian installations.
As per sources, Aftab was also in touch with the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi, handing them vital details of army installations in UP. Cops have recovered maps of Faizabad cantonment and other important defence establishments along with certain incriminating documents from his possession.
The ATS also detained another person, suspected to be an accomplice of Aftab, for questioning.
"The interrogation of both Aftab and his aide is on. We are trying to establish the chain of money and its source involved in the racket," said IG Arun.
He added that a few more arrests were expected in the coming days on the basis of leads provided by Aftab. The suspected fugitive is believed to have a criminal background and a number of criminal cases are lodged against him in Faizabad.
During the last few months, UP had been on a terror alert as the State ATS and intelligence agencies received inputs on possible terror strikes at various religious and other places including Taj Mahal, Ayodhya, Kashi, Vrindavan and Mathura.
Last month, UP ATS, in a joint and well-coordinated operation with the police force of Maharashtra, Bihar and Punjab, had arrested a group of four self-radicalised youth—one each from UP's Bijnor, Mumbai, Bihar’s Narkatiyaganj and Punjab’s Jalandhar—who were radicalising youths.