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Official from Pakistan running Spy Racket for more than a Year told to leave India

Two Indian nationals, Maulana Ramzan and Subhash Jangir, also allegedly working for the ISI, were arrested and were being questioned

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Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Foreign Secretary of India. Flickr

October 27, 2016: India on Thursday asked a Pakistan High Commission staffer here to leave the country immediately for allegedly running a major espionage ring that was busted with the arrest of two Indians possessing sensitive defence documents to be passed on to the ISI.

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Vikas Swarup, spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs, tweeted that Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar summoned Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit “to convey that (a) Pakistan High Commission staffer has been declared persona non grata for espionage activities”.

Basit was summoned after Delhi Police said they detained the embassy official, Mehmood Akhtar, a “kingpin” of the racket working for the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

Akhtar was questioned briefly and let off because of diplomatic immunity, Joint Commissioner Ravindra Yadav of the Crime Branch told reporters.

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Two Indian nationals, Maulana Ramzan and Subhash Jangir, also allegedly working for the ISI, were arrested and were being questioned, Yadav said.

Both are residents of Rajasthan. Police released a picture of the two.

The three were picked up on Wednesday near the Delhi Zoo when Ramzan and Jangir had come to hand over to Akhtar some secret information about the deployment of security forces at Indian borders.

“They had collected information regarding defense, BSF (Border Security Force) deployment on the borders” in Rajasthan and Gujarat and also carried maps of some Indian border positions, Yadav said, adding they also had information about several retired Indian Army personnel.

The joint commissioner said the Pakistan embassy official initially said he was an Indian citizen and also showed a fake Aadhar card in the name of Mehmood Rajput of Chandni Chowk in Old Delhi.

But when he was confronted that his ID was fake, he confessed he was from the Pakistan embassy and claimed diplomatic immunity.

Yadav said Akhtar was earlier working as a havaldar in Pakistan Army’s 40 Baloch Regiment. He was hired by the ISI in 2013 and posted in the visa section of the Pakistan High Commission to recruit Indian spies.

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“He was a kingpin,” Yadav said.

The officer said one more suspect Shoaib, who is at large, was also a part of the racket.

The spy network, according to Yadav, was active for the last one and a half years but the suspects were under an Indian intelligence scrutiny for the last six months.

The arrests were made following a tip from the Intelligence Bureau.

This is not the first time that employees of the Pakistan High Commission have come under the radar over alleged espionage in India.

Last year, police claimed to have busted an ISI spy ring in the mission and five persons were arrested. (IANS)

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After a Decade, India Remembers The Terrorist Attack On Mumbai

Businessman Dilip Mehta took counseling for months after he faced the prospect of falling victim to a terrorists bullet at Taj Mahal hotel.

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Mumbai Terror Attack
A man walks past a wall riddled with bullet holes opposite to the Nariman House, one of the targets of the November 26, 2008 attacks, after the renaming ceremony of Nariman House as Nariman Light House in Mumbai, India. VOA

A decade after 10 Islamic terrorists laid a three-day siege to India’s financial capital, Mumbai, and killed 166 people, businessman Dilip Mehta recalls the horror of the nine hours that he was holed up in a banquet hall in a luxury hotel, wondering when the gunmen would storm inside.

“I do feel traumatized when I hear of any kind of terrorist activities in the world,” said Mehta, who was eventually evacuated via a fire exit.

From the mark it left on survivors and the families of the victims to the deep blow it struck to ties between India and Pakistan, the scars of the coordinated attacks that began on November 26th in 2008 still run deep.

26/11 Mumbai Attack
A reporter talks on her phone as smoke is seen coming from Taj Hotel in Mumbai, November 27, 2008, where terrorists were holding hostages during an attack that began the previous day. VOA

Solemn memorial services were held in the city for the victims as India marked the 10th anniversary of the attacks, in which the heavily armed gunmen stormed multiple targets.Mumbai’s police paid homage to more than a dozen officers and commandos killed in the operation against the militants.Two luxury hotels held private services while a Jewish Center, which was also attacked, unveiled a new memorial to all those who died in the assault.

“Our solidarity with the bereaved families.A grateful nation bows to our brave police and security forces who valiantly fought the terrorists during the Mumbai attacks,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter.

The foreign ministry said it is a matter of “deep anguish” the victims of the attack who belonged to 15 countries “still await closure with Pakistan showing little sincerity in bringing perpetrators to justice.The planners of 26/11 still roam the streets of Pakistan with impunity.”

New Delhi says the attack was masterminded by the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba and frequently slammed Islamabad for not taking action against the man who founded the group, Hafiz Saeed. Saeed, who has been designated as a terrorist by the United Nations, has denied involvement and Pakistan says India has not produced enough evidence against him.

Mumbai Terror Attack
FILE – People hold a candlelight vigil for the victims of a terrorist attack, in Mumbai, India, Nov. 29, 2008. The attack took a total of 160 lives. VOA

Announcing a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to arrests or convictions of those involved in the 2008 Mumbai attack, the United States also said that it was an affront to the families of the victims that those who planned the attack had not been convicted.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on “all countries, particularly Pakistan to uphold their U.N. Security Council obligations to implement sanctions against the terrorists responsible for this atrocity, including Lashkar-e-Taiba and its affiliates.”

Nine of the 10 gunmen who mounted the attack were killed, one was captured.He has been convicted and hanged.

According to Harsh Pant at New Delhi’s Observer Research Foundation, the 2008 Mumbai attacks continue to cast a shadow on India-Pakistan relations.“When you talk of rapproachment with Pakistan, when you talk of talks with Pakistan, the stakeholders are very limited,” he said.”The question comes: why have we failed in bringing those who perpetrated these acts to book?”

Mumbai Terror Attack
Flames engulf the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai, on November 27, 2008, VOA

While Mumbai had suffered terror attacks prior to those in 2008, the strikes were the most audacious.The three-day siege put the spotlight on India’s weak coastal security – the 10 terrorists sneaked into the city on a fishing vessel.

Since then, maritime security has been strengthened and coastal police stations have been set up.On the eve of the anniversary, police officials said the city is better prepared to counter terrorist threats.

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“I can assure Mumbaikars that the city is safe and police are capable of protecting you from any eventuality,” Mumbai Police Commissioner Subodh Kumar Jaiswal said.

Businessman Dilip Mehta took counseling for months after he faced the prospect of falling victim to a terrorists bullet at Taj Mahal hotel, where for about 60 hours, the gunmen shot dead guests and hotel staff.His life took a 360 degree turn after the attack, but he says he does feel more secure.“Now with whatever precautions and measures which have been taken, I feel quite safe in Bombay,” he said. (VOA)