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Arrested ‘ISI agents’ were setting up ‘sleeper cells’ in Gujarat,say cops

The alleged ISI agents,arrested from Jamalpur area of Ahmedabad,are suspected to have been used to set up “sleeper cells” in Gujarat by serving as moles to collect information from the three cantonments — Ahmedabad,Bhuj and Gandhinagar — in the state.

Written by Ujjwala Nayudu | Ahmedabad | Published: October 17, 2012 3:36:41 am

The alleged ISI agents,arrested from Jamalpur area of Ahmedabad,are suspected to have been used to set up “sleeper cells” in Gujarat by serving as moles to collect information from the three cantonments — Ahmedabad,Bhuj and Gandhinagar — in the state. The Detection of Crime Branch,which got eight-day remand of the duo,has claimed to have found that the agents were collecting information on details of purchases of Indian Army that could be used for a possible attack on the cantonments.

After this disclosure by the DCB,military intelligence officers have also joined the probe to find out who from their premises may have been in cahoots with the suspected ISI spies,Sirajuddin Fakir (21) and his aide Mohammad Ayub Sheikh (23).

Even as the families of the duo tried to deny the allegations,the police is firming up evidence against them.

The crime branch has decoded some of Sirajuddin and Sheikh’s emails sent from a cyber cafe,allegedly to Pakistani sources. Inspector H A Rathod,who is in-charge of cyber cell of the crime branch and is investigating this case,told The Indian Express,“Police as well as intelligence wing of the Indian Army and Indian Air Force are trying to identify the Army men who provided secrets to them.”

Rathod said Sirajuddin had received money from Western Union Money Transfer and Money Express in the city. The money had been transferred from Dubai to Ahmedabad in as many as 27 instalments of Rs 5,000 and Rs 20,000,he added.

“We have also seized the CPU of the A K Cyber Cafe in Bapunagar area from where Sirajuddin used to operate,” said Rathod.

The police is probing how Sirajuddin,who worked as a driver-cum-salesman for 7-Star Eggs Mart,from January to March this year,procured vital security secrets to allegedly supply them to Pakistani contacts. Police claimed he reportedly used his friend Mohammad Ayub’s email to send the information to Pakistan. Ayub is a student of journalism in a reputed college in Khanpur.

The police suspect that on the pretext of supplying eggs they visited the Bhuj cantonment and made contacts. They are believed to have met Pakistani agents at the Indo-Pak border in Kutch,sources in DCB said.

Asked how could Sirajuddin develop contacts and win confidence of some army men in just one meeting to procure sensitive documents,Rathod said,“It is possible because he had been operating in the city for quite some time.”

Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) A K Sharma on Tuesday said,“The kind of information on Army’s purchases on security,arms etc shows that the forces in Pakistan might be targeting the Indian Army in Gujarat. The information was going to Pakistan and that could be easily used by any terrorist outfit to threaten the force or even strike. The sending of such sensitive information does generate threat to cantonments.”

The duo were found visiting the Bhuj Cantonment several times in the last one year where they developed their sources for information.

“They were being used as moles to get information and slowly after brainwashing and coaxing them on atrocities of minorities were in the process of being used by Pakistani terrorist outfits to create sleeper cells in the state in future. After collecting all information from Gujarat,the same men can be used to develop a bigger base,” Sharma added.

The sources from the defence in Ahmedabad said,“The military intelligence is interrogating the duo in custody and are assisting the DCB in their probe. The duo had accessed the cantonments and a detailed probe is going on to know how they accessed such documents and identify those who were giving them leads.”

Families say they are innocent

Sixty-six-year-old Karamat Ali Fakir,father of 21-year old Sirajuddin,lives in a 10×8-foot tin shed opposite a foul-smelling plastic bag manufacturing unit in Bombay Hotel slums. He claims that the whole police story is concocted and simply based on his wife and son’s visit to Pakistan for 20 days three years ago.

“My son studied up to Std VII but he can’t even write or read Gujarati,except writing his signature in English,” said Sirajuddin’s 60-year-old mother Maitun Bibi outside the DCB office in Jamalpur.

“I went to meet my husband’s sister,Anwari,in Hyderabad city in Sindh province of Pakistan as she had been insisting to visit her family,” said Maitun,adding that Sirajuddin accompanied her because she could not travel alone. Unluckily,Anwari’s husband Abdul Shakoor expired a week after she returned from Pakistan to Ahmedabad.

Sirajuddin’s mother said her son was with her throughout their stay in Hyderabad. She denied the police claim that Sirajuddin was taken by ISI for training during the day and then dropped back at home in the evening,at a stretch for 15 days.

Ayub’s father Sabir,a manufacturer of braided ropes,said,“the charges against my son are totally false”.

According to Umarbhai,one of the proprietors of the wholesale egg supplier,“Sirajuddin was sent to Ahmedabad Cantonment to deliver eggs only once during his three month’s stint with them.” Umarbhai’s elder brother Siddiqbhai said the contract for supplying eggs was through one Ashokbhai who is based in Bhuj and Ashokbhai contacted him for delivery whenever he was short of material. “I never supplied the eggs regularly or directly to the Army cantonment but through Ashokbhai only,” said Siddiqbhai.

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