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Intel note calls Kafaitullah a notorious criminal

As the espionage network prevalent in the Indian armed forces widened with the arrest of Munawwar Ahmad Mir, a retired Rashtriya Rifles constable from Jammu and Kashmir, the family of the two main accused seems to be in denial, claiming that two main accused are innocent.Relatives of the two Rajouri men, identified as Kafaitullah Khan and BSF head constable Abdul Rasheed, arrested on charges of spying for Pakistan, told dna on Friday that the duo had a ‘long family history’ of serving in the Indian armed forces and would not dare to collaborate with Pakistani Intelligence operatives.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An intelligence note consisting of a profile of the duo, also mentions their family history and current socio-economic status. The note accessed by dna states that siblings of the two accused, are currently serving in the Territorial Army and BSF respectively.”After verification, Kafaitullah Khan S/O Qudratullah Khan caste Doman, age 35 years, is a resident of village Kalai. His brother is serving in the Army (TA),” the profile reads. An intelligence official told dna that Kafaitullah’s father has expired and that he has mother, wife and four children. The note also mentions Kafaitullah as a notorious criminal against whom case FIR No. 13/2012 under section 363, 109 and case FIR No. 101/2014 under section 307 of the Ranbir Penal code stand registered.However, Mohamad Amin, brother-in-law of Kafaitullah claimed otherwise. While speaking to dna, Amin said that Kafaitullah was getting only Rs 4,000 in salary as the bulk of it would get deducted as he had taken to build a house. “His brother is in the army as well. He had been selected for BSF but decided not to join due to personal issues faced by the family. The cases against him are false,” said Amin.Both Kafaitullah and his cousin Rasheed were arrested by the Crime Branch for sending documents related to security deployment to a Pakistani intelligence operative. A senior police official told dna that Crime Branch recovered incriminating documents at the residence of Kafaitullah, yet his family claimed that no such documents were recovered.However, the intelligence note profiling the accused states,”The subject (Kafaitullah) was arrested by Crime Branch on November 26, at railway station Delhi and was brought to his native village Manjakote, on his disclosure some documents, including one identity card issued by Education department was recovered from his house”.”We can’t travel all the way to Delhi so we don’t know what is happening with his case. Through media reports we are getting to know about. We are sure he will be released soon as he is innocent,” Amin said.Similarly, Rasheed’s brother too is currently serving in the BSF. Rasheed had also joined the BSF in 1990 and now stands accused of procuring secret documents and sending them to Kafaitullah and a PIO identified as Faizal.”The duo had sent the documents through whatsapp and deleted the conversation they were having with PIO’s. We cant disclose the nature of other documents recovered from the duo,” said a senior police officer.Meanwhile Tahzeem Akhtar, wife of Rasheed, while speaking to dna said, “There are many soldiers in our family and this is a conspiracy against us. My husband has been in army for 25 years and his record is clean. So how so suddenly does all this evidence comes up. Someone in the village did not like to see us serving the nation.”She added that, her husband would be released soon ‘as all of this was a misunderstanding’. But not according to the Crime Branch whose investigators are now looking at a wide network of espionage.”Many more arrests will follow,” said an officer adding that at least four new names have cropped up during the investigation so far.Munawwar Ahmad Mir, joined the Indian Army in 1995 and took retirement in 2011 after serving in J&K Light Infantry, Rashtriya Rifles at various places in India was arrested by the Crime Branch.

Retired BSF Personnel held by Crime Branch in Rajouri

The Crime Branch last week had arrested a BSF head constable and a Jammu and Kashmir based lab assistant for allegedly spying for a Pakistani Intelligence Operative.

In what is turning out to be a major controversy for the Border Security Force, a retired inspector was taken into custody, by the Crime Branch of Delhi police on Wednesday evening from Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir in connection to the alleged espionage network prevalent in country’s security forces. Both the accused were taken into custody by a Crime Branch team currently camping in Rajouri area of Jammu and Kashmir.The Crime Branch last week had arrested a BSF head constable and a Jammu and Kashmir based lab assistant for allegedly spying for a Pakistani Intelligence Operative. The latest police action also is part of the investigation which was initiated after Intelligence agencies informed the Crime Branch of the prevalent espionage network.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>According to intelligence sources, the retired inspector of the BSF was identified as Abdul Aziz. Abdul is a resident of Dhani Dhar area of Rajouri district which falls under Kaapa Kha police station. Abdul, according to officials, had retired from the BSF 2-3 years ago and had been staying in his village since then. His name allegedly cropped up during questioning of the two persons arrested by Delhi police last week. Among the arrest persons are BSF head constable Abdul Rasheed and the civilian Kaifaitullah Khan, both of whom belong to Rajouri area in J&K.The arrested persons are accused of passing secret information about security deployment along the Line of Control (LoC) to their PIO handler in Pakistan identified as one Faizal. Crime Branch of Delhi police told dna that Kaifaitullah had been forced to develop sources in the Indian armed forces so that he could procure secret information about army movement. Kaifaithullah had then approached his cousin Rasheed and some other officers of the armed forces who now are accused of providing information to Pakistani intelligence agencies. Sources told dna that the information was passed through WhatsApp but the conversations and the documents exchanged between the PIO and the accused were being deleted regularly.According to police, names of at least 4-5 army-men have cropped up during the questioning of the arrested men who have been charged with the Officials Secrets Act. A senior police official of the Crime Branch told dna that several of its teams have been dispatched to J&K as well as other northern states of India to question the suspected army-men that include some retired personnel as well.”Most of the information procured and sent to the PIO by the accused was regarding army deployment in areas including Nowsheera and Manthal. We suspect that the details of deployment, timings of movement and the number of forces were being asked by the Pakistani intelligence for the purpose of infiltrating terrorists,” said a senior Crime Branch official.

Delhi Police to probe role of Pakistan High Commission employee in spying case

New Delhi: A Pakistan High Commision employee is under the scanner of Delhi Police probing an espionage racket in which an alleged ISI operative and a serving BSF personnel have been arrested.

The serving BSF head constable Abdul Rasheed was on Monday remanded in police custody till 7 December by a Delhi court which questioned the police on whether any senior official of the border guarding force was involved in the case.

Representational image. ReutersRepresentational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Kafaitullah Khan alias Master Raja, an alleged handler of the Pakistan Intelligence Operative (PIO), was in touch with an ISI operative in Pakistan who had told him that a source in the Pakistan High Commission will help him secure visa to travel to that country, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Ravindra Yadav said.

Yadav said the person in Pakistan High Commission whom the ISI operative referred to is yet to be identified but sources said it appeared he was not in the rank of a diplomat.

“Once we get some leads with further interrogation of the accused duo arrested, we shall have to approach the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) for their permission to question staff at the High Commission’s office,” said Yadav.

The Crime Branch said Kafaitullah was running the espionage racket backed by ISI and he was to meet the spy agency’s handler in Pakistan to seek more “resources”.

“Is there any involvement of any senior officers?,” Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sanjay Khanagwal asked the police during the hearing on its application seeking Rasheed’s remand. Delhi Police told the court it had not yet found complicity of any officer but the probe was on.

Khan told the police he was going to Bhopal where he was supposed to meet another PIO handler to seek information from him about the unidentified source who could easily arrange his visa, said Yadav.

Khan was, however, intercepted in Delhi on Thursday on way to Bhopal where he was also to attend a religious congregation and recruit youths for the espionage racket, he said.

During interrogation, Khan, a native of a village in Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir, disclosed about his cousin, Abdul Rasheed, who was posted as a head constable in the intelligence wing of Border Security Force there, police said.

The Delhi Police is also trying to track the money trail from Pakistan to India — routed through the Middle East, to pay off spies operating in a suspected pan-India network.

During his interrogation Khan told the police his counterpart in Pakistan had promised him huge money for passing on secret and confidential information. When Khan started doing so, he was put on a permanent pay roll and promised performance-based appraisals, said an official.

“Records obtained so far from bank accounts in Jammu and Rajouri district have revealed that Khan used to get a fixed pay of around Rs 20,000 per month through money transfers,” he said.

Almost all the money transfers received by Khan were routed either through UAE or through Saudi Arabia. Further investigation revealed that the money actually came from Pakistan, said the official. The police are, therefore, also investigating that money trail, said an official privy to the investigation.

Khan was taken to Rajouri district and Rasheed too was arrested following a raid, a senior police official said.

“The police recovered secret and confidential documents in connection with force deployment locations, movements and patrolling routes of security forces from possession of both the accused,” he said.

Both of them have been booked under provisions of the Official Secrets Act.

Meanwhile, a Crime Branch team sent to Jammu is also looking for an Army personnel suspected to be close to Khan and believed to have allegedly passed on secret information to Pakistan’s ISI that could pose a threat to national security, the official said.

Khan was recruited in Jammu and Kashmir police several years ago. Later, he quit the job and became a library assistant at a senior secondary school in Majankote area in Rajouri district, the official said.

In 2013, he visited Pakistan where he came into contact with an ISI agent and thus began his journey as a spy.

Khan soon started cultivating sources in the Indian Army and BSF, and some of them allegedly started passing him secret documents, the official added.

According to the police, information was largely passed on through e-mail, WhatsApp and Viber networks. Khan was given specific tasks by the PIO which were mainly related to deployment of security forces and Air Force operations.

The official denied that Khan’s earlier visit to Gujranwala in Pakistan, where many of his relatives live, had anything to do with any source in the High Commission as he was not in touch with intelligence operatives then.

PTI

Espionage racket: Police trying to track ‘money trail’ from Pakistan to India

Kafaitullah Khan alias Master Raja, an alleged handler of the Pakistan Intelligence Operative (PIO), running an espionage racket here backed by the spy outfit, had met another ISI-backed handler at Gujrawala in Pakistan in 2013, his last visit to the country, said an official privy to the probe.

Image courtesy: ANI Twitter handle
With the arrest of an alleged ISI operative and a serving BSF personnel, Delhi Police is now trying to track a money trail from Pakistan to India — routed through the Middle East — to pay off spies operating in an suspected pan-India network.Kafaitullah Khan alias Master Raja, an alleged handler of the Pakistan Intelligence Operative (PIO), running an espionage racket here backed by the spy outfit, had met another ISI-backed handler at Gujrawala in Pakistan in 2013, his last visit to the country, said an official privy to the probe.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>During investigation, Khan told the police that his counterpart in Pakistan had promised him huge money for passing on secret and confidential information. When Khan started doing so, he was put on a permanent pay roll and promised performance-based appraisals, said the official.Also read: BSF personnel arrested in espionage case; Pakistan High Commission employee under scanner”Records obtained so far from bank accounts in Jammu and Rajouri district have revealed that Khan used to get a fixed pay of around Rs 20,000 per month through money transfers,” the official said.Almost all the money transfers received by Khan were routed either through UAE or through Saudi Arabia. Further investigation revealed that the money actually came from Pakistan, said the official. However, these were transfers received only through the official banking channels. Khan could have received potentially high funds through private money transfer agencies or through illegal routes. Further interrogation is expected to provide the Crime Branch with more information on the money trail, said the official.The police are also verifying reports alleging Khan’s involvement in a human-organ trafficking racket at Jammu and Kashmir, said Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Ravindra Yadav, adding that the police are currently clueless in connection with that matter. So far, Khan has claimed that he was booked by the police twice for allegedly getting involved in fights during protests at Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir between 2013 and 14, said police.

Metrological department wants Rs 14,000 for RTI information

RTI applicant Farid Hussain, resident of Cheetah Camp, was asked to pay Rs 14,535 for the expenses.

dna Research & Archives
The Indian Metrological Department which is in news for ensuring correct measurement, seems to have gone wrong in its reading of an RTI application. The department, in its reply, has informed the applicant that he should shell out over Rs14,000 for seeking inspection of documents. As per the RTI Act, inspection can take place for free for the first hour and thereafter money is charged for every fifteen minutes. A person inspecting documents can take copy of the information he wants by paying Rs 2 for an A4 size page. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>However, RTI applicant Farid Hussain, resident of Cheetah Camp, was asked to pay Rs14,535 for the expenses. In his application of June 22, he had sought inspection of challan, dead stock register and money receipts among others. “This is in a way is harassment. Inspection provision is there but still they have not granted that. I called up the public information officer (PIO) stating that you have given me details of the charges but what I desired was inspection. He said it is his choice whether to give inspection or not,” said Hussain. When contacted, Sanjay Pandey, inspector general of the department, said: “I do not know about it, but can check and get back to you.”

Ajmal Kasab’s letter to mother out of bounds under RTI, rules info panel

In his application, Durve had sough details with respect to interaction after Kasab’s clemency petition was rejected, details for shifting Kasab from Arthur Road Jail to Yerwada Jail, copy of clemency petition, his letter to his mother and death warrant, among others.

Sudhir Shetty
dna
Demands made by Ajmal Kasab when he was in jail, his letter to his mother, and documents relating to the last few days before the terrorist was hanged, will be out of bounds under the Right to Information (RTI) Act for now.Pune information commissioner Ravindra Jadhav has upheld the public information officer’s response of not providing information under RTI. The information was sought by Pune based RTI activist, Vihar Durve. The order was given by Jadhav on May 17.In his application, Durve had sough details with respect to interaction after Kasab’s clemency petition was rejected, details for shifting Kasab from Arthur Road Jail to Yerwada Jail, copy of clemency petition, his letter to his mother and death warrant, among others.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The information chief stated that the larger public interest was ‘not being justified’ and hence, there was no reason to interfere in the order.Durve said that what Kasab had done was ‘against humanity’, and stated why he filed the plea, saying: “A lot of things were being talked about him, including Kasab making several demands. I wanted to know if he stated regretting doing what he did in the letter he wrote to his mother. It would have sent a good message throughout the world. And if he would have justified it, then it would have been proved that he was brainwashed because no religion teaches such barbarity.”Durve added that he is thinking of going to court, alleging that the order was ‘a wrong order’. “The PIO and FAA was the same person. The CM had given some information to the legislature. Any information given to the legislature cannot be denied to the public under RTI. The PIO has not applied his mind. He put all exemption clauses without thinking,” he said.

Parliament passes Citizenship Amendment Bill

New Delhi: Parliament on Wednesday passed a Bill to amend the Citizenship Act to remove disparity between Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) and Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) cardholders.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2015 was one of the six bills on which ordinances had been promulgated by the NDA government.

ReutersReuters

Reuters

The measure, passed by Lok Sabha two days ago, was adopted in the Rajya Sabha by a voice vote.

Replying to the debate, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said the ordinance was necessisated to honour Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s committment in the US and Australia to merge PIO and OCI cards before January 9, the centenary of Mahatma Gandhi’s return to India from South Africa.

He said the only objection to the Bill was with regard to promulgation of ordinance which was “an issue of sentiment.”

“January 9, 2015 marked the completion 100 years of Mahatma Gandhi’s return to India. The Prime Minister had made an announcement in US and Australia to merge OCI and PIO cards before January 9 and, to fulfill this committment, the ordinance was brought,” the Minister said.

He said now the benefits under the PIO scheme would be extended to OCI cardholders with recognition granted to their great grand children which was earlier limited to grand children.

On concerns over discrimination or harrassment of the cardholders at the hands of immigration and police authorities at airports, Rijiju said, “Let me assure that the entire procedure of acquisition of card is smooth.” The government would ensure that no such things happen, he added.

He said people who apply for Indian citizenship would now be allowed a 30-day break if they have to leave India for some time and their absence from the country would not affect their application for citizenship.

Earlier, Derek O Brien (Trinamool) raised questions about the haste shown by the government to bring in the ordinance and said, “What was the hurry to bring the ordinance? … Please don’t bulldoze your way.”

He quoted the first Speaker of the Lok Sabha as saying that ordinances should be used only in extreme and urgent circumstances or else Parliament will be reduced to a “rubberstamp.” He also made it clear that “we have no issue with the Bill” but were concerned about the “misuse” of the ordinance route.

Bhupinder Singh (BJD) echoed O’Brien saying the entire House was unanimous that there was no need for an ordinance and government should explain the urgency behind it.

PTI

India an opportunity waiting for you, PM Narendra Modi tells PIOs

PM Narendra Modi releases the special coin to commemorate 100 years of Mahatma Gandhi’s homecoming in Gandhinagar on Thursday

PTI
A dose of Gandhi, mixed with emotions and a promise of opportunity is what prime minister Narendra Modi gave to nearly 2,500 persons of Indian origin (PIOs) taking part in the 13th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) in Gandhinagar on Thursday. Appreciating the PIOs and NRIs for making India ‘global’, Modi asked them to contribute towards India’s growth.“A hundred years ago, a pravasi Indian came back to India. Today, exactly after 100 years, a pravasi Gujarati is welcoming you,” Modi said in Hindi at the inaugural Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, referring to Mahatma Gandhi’s return to India from South Africa on January 9, 1915.Modi said that the Mahatma’s thoughts continue to inspire the world. He mentioned how October 2, the Mahatma’s birth anniversary, is celebrated in Mauritius with greater rigour than it is done in India. The prime minister – wearing an off-white kurta-pyjama and his trademark sleeveless jacket – was welcomed with whistles and loud cheers by the delegates as he arrived at the Mahatma Mandir, the venue of the PBD’s inaugural ceremony. Before reaching the main venue, he inaugurated Dandi Kutir, the salt-mound-shaped Gandhi museum situated in the same complex.The prime minister appreciated the role played by PIOs the world over in increasing the country’s stature. “Indians are present in more than 200 countries across the world. It is because of you that India is global. I can confidently say that even if there is a single NRI in any country, India is alive and present in that part of the world. I believe that Indians settled abroad are huge assets who can help in further strengthening India’s position,” he said.Exhorting PIOs and NRIs to come back and contribute to India’s growth, Modi said, “There was a time when you left your country, family and friends in search of opportunity, or to gain knowledge and exposure. Our ancestors went abroad for opportunities. Today, I assure you that opportunities are waiting for you in India.” The prime minister said that time had changed and the world was looking at India with hope and optimism. “The richest and the poorest nations in the world have their eyes on India. They feel they can work shoulder-to-shoulder with India. It’s an opportunity we must make the most of,” he added.There were no new announcements for the Indian diaspora, but Modi told them that his government had fulfilled whatever he had promised. “Issuing of life-long visas to PIO card holders has been approved. The rule of PIO card holders being required to visit a police station once in a week has been removed. The merger of PIO and OCI schemes has been approved. PIOs from 43 countries now get visa on arrival. The electronic travel authorisation is also being issued. Very soon, Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra in Delhi start functioning,” he said.The prime minister asked NRIs to contribute to various projects his government had announced, especially the Namami Gange (Clean Ganga) project. “Not only are there religious, spiritual and environmental aspects of cleaning the Ganga, but it will also help in economic uplift of 40 per cent of the country’s population which lives in states from where the Ganga passes,” he said.Earlier, South Africa’s minister for international relations, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, the guest of honour at the PBD, spoke about the strong relation between India and South Africa, and how the two countries could play a key role in shaping world policies.Guyanese president Donald Ramotar, the chief guest at the function, recalled how India’s independence from British Rule, had inspired his countrymen to fight for freedom.

Ordinance to amend Citizenship Act promulgated; Person of Indian Origin to get lifetime Indian visa

On the eve of the opening of the three-day meet of Indian diaspora in Gujarat, government on Tuesday promulgated an ordinance that seeks to merge Person of Indian Origin (PIO) and Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) schemes, by which PIOs will also get life-long Indian visa.The President has signed the Citizenship Ordinance, President’s press secretary Venu Rajamony said in response to queries. The amendments through the ordinance to the Citizenship Act will benefit PIOs and will give them benefits like life-long visa and exemption from appearing before the local police station on every visit.The ordinance fulfils Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s assurance in New York to Indian diaspora where he had promised a merger of the two schemes. He had also announced grant of lifetime visa to PIOs.Subsequently, Modi had said the Home Ministry was working on the new programme that will merge the PIO and OCI schemes and that instructions had been issued to embassies and consulates that apart from special circumstances, US nationals should get visas for 10 years.The decision to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 was taken after large number of complaints were received from PIOs, who often complained of visits to local police stations and stringent visa norms that debarred them from buying property in India, in comparison to those holding Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) card. PIO cardholders were now eligible for only 15-year visas in comparison to lifelong visas given to those having OCI cards.It will also do away with the clause of foreigners who marry Indians to continuously stay in the country for a period of one year before they get an Indian citizenship. The amendment will give foreigners a relief of 30 days in a year when they can travel outside the country. The Citizenship Amendment Bill of 1955 was first introduced by the UPA government in 2013. The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is being held in Gandhinagar in Gujarat between January 7 and 9 to be addressed by among others Prime Minister Narendra Modi.This is the ninth ordinance promulgated by the Modi government since it came to power over seven months ago.