Mehmood Akhtar, who was a staffer in Pakistan’s High Commission to India, was arrested by Delhi Police’s Crime Branch today with highly classified army documents. After being detained under espionage charges, the man had to be released due to diplomatic immunity

The documents were sent to the Ministrry of External Affairs (MEA) for examination. The MEA also asked the Pak High Commissioner Abdul Basit to come and discuss the matter with the Ministry

Here is all you need to know about the incident: 

  • Akhtar, a Pakistani national, had been under scrutiny for almost 6 months. 
  • According to some reports, he was arrested and detained by Delhi Police, on Tuesday night. The police were acting on a tip off from the Intelligence Bureau (IB).
  • Delhi Police told the media that Mahmood had been working for the Pakistani army for 3 years.
  • He was first recruited into the army’s Baloch regiment, and then was recruited into the ISI. He was currently working in the visa department of the Pak High Commission to India. 
  • The documents found in his possession include classified army documents and maps about India’s defence positions. 
  • Upon arrest, Mahmood claimed to be an Indian national and even produced a fake Aadhaar card, Ravindra Yadav, Joint CP of Crime, Delhi Police, told media. 
  • Two more Indian nationals from Rajasthan, Maulana Ramzaan and Subhash Jangir, have also been arrested for allegedly being ISI spies. The two allegedly passed on ‘sensitive information’ to the Pakistan High Commission staff. 
  • Defence and BSF deployment maps along with visa related documents were recovered from both the Indian nationals. The two have been booked under the Official Secrets Act. 
  • Delhi police said the ring had been operating for the past year and a half, and that police and intelligence agencies had been running surveillance on the ring for 6 months now. 
  • Another Jodhpur-based person, identified as Shoaib will also be arrested soon for his involvement in the espionage ring. 
  • According to reports, the Central government was hesitant about making the (Mahmood’s) arrest, even though for months the man had been in touch with  his sources in Rajasthan. 
  • In the past, similar arrests have invoked retaliatory action from Pakistan, with the arrest of several Indian nationals in Pakistan under espionage charges, especially after India busted a Pak spy ring in November 2015. 
  • Akhtar eventually had to be released after he invoked diplomatic immunity on being detained for questioning. He will be sent back to Pakistan within 24 hours. 

Further details are awaited. 

Feature Image Source: Twitter/@ANI