A day after two Bhuj residents were arrested for allegedly spying for Pakistani intelligence agency ISI, officials of the Gujarat Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) on Thursday said they suspect “one accused was honey trapped by a 17-year-old ISI agent and later trained by a handler” to pass on information about the movement of Army and BSF troops, besides inputs on vital installations in the region.
Alleged spy Alana Hamir Sama (40), resident of Kukma village in Bhuj taluka of Kutch district, and his associate Shakoor Sumra (38), resident of nearby Sumrapor village, were arrested Wednesday by the ATS from Bhuj bus station.
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According to senior officials, following high alert after the Army’s surgical strike along the LoC, the ATS was scanning the movement of people visiting Pakistan when it came to know about Sama’s frequent visits to the neighbouring country.
“Sama had gone to Pakistan in 2014 for the first time to meet his grandfather’s brother, who is a resident of Tharparkar district in Pakistan. After his first trip, he made four frequent trips (in two years) which rose our suspicion. He is from a poor background and his frequent trips to Pakistan by train compelled us to look into his visits,” a senior ATS official said.
The official said during his first visit to Pakistan, Sama met a 17-year-old girl (identity withheld) and “fell in love with her”. The ATS officials believed that “it was a honey trap and a well thought-out plan”.
They said that in his second visit, Sama was also trained by the local handler, who promised him money in return of information. “The minor girl acted as a key who received money on behalf of Sama,” an official said.
“We arrested the duo on Wednesday when they had come to Bhuj bus station to discuss about sharing more information with their ISI handler,” deputy superintendent of police B H Chavda said Thursday. He said that both have been booked under the Official Secrets Act, besides other charges.
The ATS also recovered a mobile phone (Q mobile) manufactured by a Pakistani company, SIM cards, an I-card issued by Pakistani authority, memory cards, CDs, incriminating documents, photographs and other items allegedly from their possession. The investigators said Sama is “illiterate and hence he got his friend Sumra involved in the spying”.
“Sumra used to gather information for Sama and he would digitise the data in a memory card. A few memory cards have been smuggled to Pakistan by Sama,” an official said, adding that the memory cards and the CDs recovered from the duo were being examined.
Sumra also used to collect information about sensitive zones by “getting in touch with local labourers”, besides passing on inputs about roads to vital installations and respective signboards. Following their arrest, various state and central intelligence officials have interrogated the duo to dig out more information.
Meanwhile, the two were produced before a Bhuj court, which sent them to a 12-day police custody.