The motive of the two officials of Pakistan High Commission, who were declared ‘persona non grata’ by India on charges of espionage, was to extract details of movement of Army units through trains by befriending railway staffers, police said on Monday.
The two officials, Abid Hussain and Muhammad Tahir, were caught by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police from central Delhi’s Karol Bagh while they were obtaining sensitive documents relating to India’s security installations from an Indian national in exchange of money, official sources had said on Sunday.
According to the police, during investigation, it has emerged that Hussain operated under several fake identities to lure people working in organisations and departments of his interest.
He posed as Gautam, brother of a media person, to establish contact with an individual working in the Indian Railways.
He tried to gain his confidence by pretending that he needed information about rail movements for his brother who was supposedly doing a story on the Indian Railways and for which he was willing to pay, said Anil Mittal, Additional PRO (Delhi Police).
However, police said the real motive was to lure and trap the railway staff and then acquire information about movement of Army units and hardware via trains.
In a statement released on Sunday, the Ministry of External Affairs had said, “The government has declared both these officials persona non grata for indulging in activities incompatible with their status as members of a diplomatic mission and asked them to leave the country within 24 four hours.”
Sources had said the officials were working at the visa section of the Pakistan High Commission and confessed during the interrogation that they worked for Pakistani spy agency ISI.
The sources had also said that the two officials were handing over Indian currency and an iPhone for providing them the documents.
They had initially claimed that they were Indian nationals and even produced fake Aadhaar cards, the sources had said.
In 2016, Delhi Police had busted an espionage racket, involving a Pakistan High Commission staffer, Mehmood Akhtar, who was allegedly involved in getting information about BSF deployments along the Indo-Pak border. He was expelled by India for spying.