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Touts held for aiding Pak ‘spy’

Nov. 17: Two touts have been held for helping an alleged Pakistani spy, who was arrested on Saturday at Delhi airport, acquire an Indian passport and other papers in Lucknow.

Saiyed Amir Ali, who is believed to be from Karachi, entered India in 2005 and took a job in a Delhi cellphone repair shop with just a spelling tweak in his name — “Saiyed” became “Syed” on his Indian documents.

A third person is also said to have been picked up for aiding Ali, though Uttar Pradesh police didn’t confirm his arrest or identify him. Sources said he was a cop involved in passport verification.

The touts, Mohammad Arshad alias Arshu and Chand Mohammad prepared fake papers for Ali, 36, who was arrested as he was about to board a flight to Saudi Arabia.

Ali often visited Delhi and Lucknow.

The duo’s arrests came after Ali was brought to Lucknow by Delhi police’s special cell yesterday and asked to identify the spots where he had stayed posing as an electrician since his arrival in 2005 before shifting to Delhi. Some residents identified him as Jabbar — the name he had apparently used to introduce himself.

“We have enough evidence linking Arshad and Mohammad to Ali,” said additional director-general (law and order) A.K. Jain. The two also helped Ali get a driving licence, a PAN card and a rented house.

The police suspect Ali was assisted by at least four persons and hope to arrest the remaining two soon.

“We are looking into the possibility that Arshad and his associates bribed passport and transport officials to get the documents for Ali,” said additional director-general Brij Lal.

The passport was issued under the name of “Syed Amir Ali” by the regional passport office in Lucknow on July 5, 2005. It mentions Kaiser Bagh in Lucknow as the address. “We wonder how the local intelligence unit of the police gave the clearance (for the passport verification). The Lucknow DIG has been asked to probe the matter and submit his report at the earliest,” Lal added.

But a Delhi special cell officer said the forgery trail went beyond the passport. Ali used the PAN card to filed his IT returns for three years and opened an account with a Bank of Baroda branch in Lucknow. A fake mark-sheet, bearing the name of Aminabad Inter College in Lucknow, recovered from Ali, shows his year of birth as January 1970.

In Delhi, where Ali worked in a cellphone repair shop in Shahdara, he used cyber cafes in his neighbourhood to stay in touch with his suspected handlers in the ISI, according to special cell sources. Pictures of Meerut and Lucknow cantonments and sketches of other army bases were found on Ali at the time of arrest. “We are trying to find out how he passed on the sensitive documents. Investigations are on to find out if he had contacts in the capital,” a special cell officer said.

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