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ISI genie in defence bottle

Behrampore, Nov. 22: Suspicions of the involvement of defence personnel in activities of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence deepened today with military intelligence picking up a jawan from Domkol in Murshidabad district for questioning,

The jawan, Nazrul Islam, was picked up from his residence in Kuchiamora village, the same location where police had arrested Ghulam Murtaza last Sunday on suspicion of him working as an ISI “agent”.

Islam was questioned by intelligence officials and has been asked to report back tomorrow.

Police and military intelligence have so far questioned 30 personnel belonging to the army, navy, air force and the Border Security Force following information gathered during the interrogation of some ISI “agents” — Ziauddin Biswas, his wife Ismatara and brother-in-law Hasan Habib. All were arrested from the Jalangi area of Murshidabad on Sunday.

Army and air force intelligence officials are camping here. They are also on the lookout for Ismatara’s absconding younger brother Shamsuzzaman Biswas.

In Calcutta, home secretary Amit Kiran Deb said the developments were being relayed to Delhi. “It is true that some people have been arrested but the situation is not that alarming,” Deb said.

Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee is scheduled to hold talks with deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani in Delhi tomorrow. Bhattacharjee’s party, the CPM, agrees with Advani that ISI activities have escalated after the ascendance of Khaleda Zia to power in Bangladesh.

The current wave of arrests of alleged Bangladeshis and ISI agents in Bengal started after Advani’s statement that al Qaida and ISI operatives had stepped up their activities under the Khaleda government.

According to the police, during interrogation, Biswas and the other arrested “ISI agents” named defence personnel who have allegedly passed on military secrets. Biswas admitted that he had been working for the ISI since 1992.

A civilian, Rinku Ahmed (22), was arrested from Jalangi for involvement with Aufan Ukil, the air force data operator who air force police nabbed in Pune yesterday based on information sent by Murshidabad police for his alleged involvement in the ISI information network. Earlier, the police had said Ukil had been arrested from Bhuj in Gujarat.

“Ukil used to pass on vital information concerning the air force to Rinku who in turn passed them on to ISI agents,” Birendra, Murshidabad’s SP, said.

“We are also getting information that ex-armymen, too, were being paid by the ISI as they can enter cantonments and collect information from those still in service,” he added.

 

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