They arrived four days ago from Jammu and Kashmir on Mission Calcutta. They sought and found their quarry before leaving the city on Saturday. All with the minimum of fuss — in other words, without alerting the Calcutta Police.
Officers from the counter-Intelligence wing of the J&K CID picked up “a key ISI operative” from Calcutta last week “without letting their counterparts here know about their top-secret operation”.
Deputy commissioner of police (detective department) Soumen Mitra said the ‘visiting team’ had not sought their help. “They did not approach me for any help. I don’t know whether anybody else helped them or not,” added Mitra. Even the anti-terrorist cell of the city police was kept in the dark as the J&K team combed Calcutta for their man.
The J&K team flew into the city four days ago and arrested, “from the heart of the city”, an ISI operative said to be “critically important” in the Dhaka-Kashmir-Islamabad chain that operates via Calcutta. The mission to net Md Farookh, 30, was monitored independently by the CID top-brass from Jammu.
The three-member team, led by deputy superintendent of police (CID) Rakesh Parihar, scanned the entire city and its fringes before trapping Farookh in an Alipore hideout, late on Friday. On Saturday evening, they left with Farookh on “transit remand”.
B.K. Ghei, special superintendent of police, counter-Intelligence wing of the CID, who monitored the entire operation, told Metro from Jammu on Sunday that the arrest of Farookh was a “major breakthrough”, as he was wanted in connection with several cases pending in Jammu and Kashmir. “We hope to get a lot of information from him,” added Ghei.
Investigations so far have revealed that Farookh had undergone espionage training in an ISI base camp in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. He crossed over to India five years ago and was sent to Calcutta to forge a link between ISI agents in Bangladesh and Kashmir and also ensure a safe passage for arms suppliers from Bangladesh.
“He is fluent in Urdu, Hindi and Bengali and has been to Bangladesh and Pakistan several times in the past,” said a senior CID officer, involved in the swoop. He added that Farookh had been tracked down to the Alipore hideout with information from one of his associates in Calcutta.
After being picked up from a house close to Command Hospital, Farookh confessed that he had been sent to Calcutta with specific instructions to build a strong network between Pakistan, Kashmir, Calcutta, Dhaka and Chittagong. He had, apparently, built up a secret operational base in Mominpur.