BHOPAL: Two and half years after the Anti-Terrorism Squad of Madhya Pradesh Police (MP ATS) busted Chinese SIM Box-enabled alleged Pakistani spying ring, the state police have now busted a suspected spy-funding ring which was being guided by Pakistan-based ISI handlers.
Three men, identified as Balram Singh, Sunil Singh and Shubham Mishra were arrested from their native Satna district on Wednesday night for allegedly parking phone lottery and other telephonic fraud money in multiple bank accounts at the behest of ISI.
The phone fraud money which was being parked in multiple bank accounts in Madhya Pradesh and other states, including West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Bihar, was possibly being used by the Pakistan-based handlers to fund spying on India’s strategic interests.
At least 17 Pakistani phone numbers were found from the cell-phones seized from the arrested trio by the Satna district police. The accused used to regularly make WhatsApp calls, Net calls, besides sending audio and video messages.
Interestingly, one of the accused- Balram Singh (an ex-Bajrang Dal leader) was among the 15 men arrested in February 2017 from different parts of India, particularly MP following the busting of the Chinese SIM Box-enabled ISI spying ring. He along with 12 others was released on bail last year.
“The arrested trio has been booked for collecting arms and concealing information with intent to facilitate designs to wage war against India (Section 122 and 123 of IPC), besides Sections 420, 467, 468, 471, 120-B and 201 of IPC, provisions of Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act 1933 and Indian Telegraph Act 1885 and subsequent investigations are underway,” MP Police official spokesperson and AIG (Special Armed Force) AP Singh said on Thursday.
In February 2017, a full-fledged Chinese SIM Box enabled spying ring was busted by the MP ATS. Entire ring (guided by common Pakistani handlers) had three parts, including duping people across the country through phone fraud, particularly lottery fraud using the illegal Chinese SIM Box exchanges.
The fraud money parked in those accounts was used to fund spying in India by Pak spies, two of whom Satwindar and Dadu were arrested in 2016 from Jammu and Kashmir.
“This time, only the module which facilitated fraud money management and transfer for the Pak handlers has been busted with the arrest of the three men. Unlike 2017, when Balram and his aides hired bank accounts of others to park and transfer the fraud money, the trio and their aides spread across the country, particularly in Satna and adjoining districts of MP and UP used their own multiple bank accounts to park and transfer money possibly to fund spying and also terror,” a senior police officer forming part of the probe confided to The New Indian Express.
“Knowing well that parking major money volumes in accounts would bring them under IT Department radar, Balram and aides didn’t park more than Rs 50,000 in their accounts in Satna districts, but instead regularly transferred money into bank accounts of other operatives of the funding racket operating in Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand, which was then possibly routed to those spying in India at behest of Pak handlers. Balram and aides got 8%-10% commission from Pak handlers on each money transaction,” said AP Singh.
The Baghelkhand (Vindhyan) region of MP, which borders East UP, is turning into an epicentre of fund management for spying and terror in India. Besides, Balram, his aide Rajjan Tiwari and relative Sanyog Singh who was arrested in 2017 hail from the same region. Also, the UP ATS had arrested two men from Rewa and Sidhi districts of the same region in the last few months in connection with similar spying/terror funding racket.