Two youths, both residents of Jamalpur in Ahmedabad, were arrested by the Detection of Crime Branch (DCB) on Sunday, because they were allegedly spying for Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
The police identified the two youths as Sirajuddin Fakir, 22, and his friend Mohammad Ayub aka Sakir Shaikh, 23, both residents of Jamalpur chakla near Ahmedkhan mosque.
According to DCB officials, the two youths, who were under police watch for long, were arrested on Sunday from Jamalpur bridge. Fakir works as a delivery man for a contractor who supplies eggs to army offices and the cantonment while Shaikh is a graduate currently pursuing a journalism course at Bhavan’s College in the city. DCB officials said that the two youths are neighbours and childhood friends.
In the last four years, they have allegedly sent crucial information and coded military maps to ISI officials through email. For this, the ISI had allegedly paid them through Western Union money transfer, the DCB officials said.
“They have received Rs2.5 lakh for their services in the last four years. They used to share the money received from the Pakistan agency,” said AK Sharma, joint commissioner of police, DCB.
DCB officials further said that investigation had revealed that Fakir had studied only till Class 7 and some of his relatives now live in Pakistan. Four years back, he had gone to Pakistan to meet them. In Pakistan, an ISI officer had met him and persuaded him to work for the intelligence agency, the officials said.
The ISI officer had taken him to a nearby army office, and brainwashed him into spying for Pakistan. He was also lured with the promise of a handsome ‘pay package’, the officials said. Fakir had finally agreed to spy for them. According to the DCB, Fakir was also given 15 days’ training at the Pak army office.
“He was specifically trained to spy on Indian army establishments because he used to visit them to deliver eggs. During the training given to him, he was told how to know the rank and cadre of an army officer from his badge. Using this knowledge, Fakir had collected some crucial data by cultivating sources at army establishments,” said Sharma.
After returning to India, Fakir persuaded his best friend, Shaikh, to join him in spying for the ISI. Since Fakir has no knowledge of computers, he used to give to Shaikh the information he collected from army establishments. Shaikh sent it to the ISI by email, the DCB officials said.
To avoid detection, Shaikh used to write in code and save the mail in the ‘drafts’ folder of his email account. Using the same password, the ISI accessed the saved mail to get the sensitive information sent by Shaikh.
According to DCB officials, Fakir and Shaikh had acquired and sent some crucial information about army deployments, troop movement and some maps of major army establishments. After their arrest, the DCB recovered some of the documents but they were written in coded language. Some handmade maps of Gujarat were also recovered from the possession of the two youth. Giving an example of the codes used by them, DCB officials said that the duo used to write ‘egg’ for ‘money’ in their code.
Two cellphones and a diary written in coded language had also been recovered from them. “We have also found that they had connections beyond Gujarat. We are now finding out about their links, what information had been sent to the ISI and who else was part of their network,” said Sharma.