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Boot for Pak driver in spy scandal

New Delhi, Oct. 24: Delhi today asked Islamabad to withdraw the Pakistan high commission employee whom police have accused of receiving secret documents from an Indian soldier.

Mahmood Farooq, a driver with the Pakistan mission, has been asked to leave the country within seven days. Islamabad is expected to order a tit-for-tat expulsion.

On Friday, Delhi police had arrested Lance Naik Anil Kumar Dubey of the army group insurance directorate while he was allegedly handing over the documents to Farooq. Indian security agencies say Farooq has been working for Pakistan’s spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence.

Islamabad has accused India of fabricating the spy story, and lodged a protest saying Farooq was illegally detained for several hours on Friday night and roughed up by the police.

Delhi police arrested another soldier on Friday, who they say was about to sneak into Kathmandu to hand over a pen drive, film rolls and documents containing sensitive information to ISI agents. Ritesh Kumar Vishwakarma, a signal man, was held outside Delhi airport minutes after he arrived from Leh.

The twin arrests prompted defence minister Pranab Mukherjee to say yesterday that the ISI was trying to infiltrate the armed forces.

The spy row has erupted ahead of the scheduled resumption of foreign secretary-level talks next month.

Expulsions of diplomats and other mission staff are commonplace in India-Pakistan relations. The last instance came in August when Pakistan claimed to have caught Indian diplomat Deepak Kaul “red-handed” with sensitive documents.

After Kaul was asked to leave, India retaliated by expelling Pakistani diplomat Sayed Mohammed Rafiq Ahmed.

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