Calcutta, Aug. 26: Two alleged Inter-Services Intelligence agents and three suspected militants were arrested in the city last night, setting off alarm bells in the security establishment here.
The trio was held at the airport trying to smuggle in rifle-scopes (telescopes attached to rifles for long-distance shooting) and the duo from Bowbazar for allegedly supplying “sensitive information” to Pakistan.
All have been charged with waging war against the state.
Police said the “ISI antecedents” of Ali Bhai alias Firoz, Naqvi or Nazrul, and hawala operator Muzaffarul Islam had been “confirmed”. Ali, they added, supplied information to Pakistan and Islam was the conduit for the payments.
The police, who are not saying how they got on to Ali’s trail except that they received a “tip-off”, said he was caught while receiving a part of his payment from Islam at a roadside eatery.
The duo has been remanded in police custody till September 4.
Ali, 32, from Swarupnagar in North 24-Parganas, is said to have told the police that he was trained by the Pakistani army in Karachi to “collect information on deployment and movement of the Indian Army and Border Security Force”.
It was not disclosed how the travel agent based in Sealdah would have done that.
“He was trained to collect military intelligence. We are working to find out his area of operation. Army officials at Fort William have been informed and they are likely to interrogate Ali on Friday,” said Peeyush Pandey, deputy commissioner of police, detective department.
Ali is said to have told the police that he went to Dhaka in January and flew to Karachi and stayed for two months in an army establishment.
There, the police said, he was trained to secretly pass information through e-mail, SMS and fax.
Minutes after landing from Bangkok late last night, Jagdish Sukhlal Sahani, 34, Sukhdev Singh, 40, and Briddhi Chand Nishad, 34, were arrested for trying to smuggle in 17 rifle-scopes.
“They tried to mislead us by claiming that these gadgets were actually telescopic lenses. Their links with terrorist outfits are being verified,” a senior air intelligence official said.