The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Silence shrouds probe into ISI reach

Nov. 25: A veil of secrecy today wrapped the district intelligence branch office in Murshidabad where at least eight suspected ISI agents were grilled through the day for an insight into the workings of what police had claimed to be one of the largest terror and espionage networks detected in recent times.

District superintendent of police Birendra and other senior officers involved in the interrogation declined to comment on the progress of the investigations in a sudden departure from what had become a routine over the past few days.

Inspector-general of police, south Bengal, N.R. Das and his deputy, D.P. Tarenia, quizzed the suspects for more than three hours today. Sources said the officers focused on securing details of the ISI-sponsored camps across the border in Bangladesh as well as the modus operandi of Aamir and Bhaisaab, the two alleged ISI operatives working from the Pakistan embassy in Dhaka.

The police are verifying information from Ziauddin Biswas and his wife Ismatara, who were arrested last week, on how many times Aamir and Bhaisaab had crossed the border and entered India. “We have information that the ISI had recruited two dozen people from Nadia and Murshidabad. Senior officers questioned the suspects on the youths and their whereabouts,’’ was all that a senior officer, who was part of the investigating team, said.

Later, Tarenia told the The Telegraph Ziauddin has confessed that Aamir and Bhaisaab had paid Rs 75,000 after he passed on a “confidential file’’ to them recently.

But both Birendra and Tarenia were silent on Aufan Ukil, the air force signalman arrested from Pune for being an alleged ISI “mole”. The police had earlier claimed that Ukil passed on vital information on frequency and wavelength of defence signals and bandwidth to the Pakistanis.

The district administration, or the police, however, refused to utter a word on Ukil’s whereabouts or the statements he has made. “We cannot give details,’’ was the general response.

The superintendent had held regular news conferences since the arrests of Ziauddin, Ismatara, Ghulam Murtaza and Hasan Habib on November 17. The “agents” were even paraded in front of the media. On Saturday, he had said Ukil was being brought to Behrampore for interrogation.

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