Aftab Ali, an ISI agent who was detained by the Military Intelligence and the Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terrorist Squad (UPATS) in 2017 for spying, was given a five-year prison term by a Lucknow court.
Aftab was charged with providing intelligence on the Indian Army to an ISI handler in exchange for favours.
The special NIA court sentenced Aftab to five years in prison and assessed a fine of Rs 4,800 after reviewing the evidence and the ATS’s chargesheet.
According to a top ATS officer, Aftab, who is in his late 20s, was detained on May 3, 2017. He added that Aftab was charged with dishonesty, forgery for the purpose of cheating, and under pertinent sections of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act and the Official Secret Act.
“We got information that Aftab was in touch with the Pakistan High Commission in Delhi and used to pass on vital information to ISI handlers in Pakistan,” he said. “We gathered proof of his visit to Pakistan in 2016 and his training in Karachi through surveillance and from a mobile phone recovered from him.Aftab’s name came up when a group of men arrested in Lucknow, Hardoi, and Sitapur for spying on military troops in Jammu & Kashmir were being questioned, the official claimed.
The ATS discovered that Ali had travelled to Punjabi border towns to photograph army military movements. Aftab met an ISI handler in Pakistan, spoke with an ISI agent named Meherban Ali, and also got orders from someone working at the Pakistan High Commission in Delhi.
When India carried out a surgical strike, ATS had also discovered proof that Aftab was continuously feeding his Pakistani handlers secret information. “Early in October 2016, several army forces were transferred from the Central Command to J&K and Punjab. We discovered the inmate’s phone had information regarding the quantity of army personnel and trains they had boarded “the policeman stated.
Meherban Ali, an ISI handler, spoke with Aftab both before and after the surgical attacks. Meherban was one of the six persons removed from the Pakistan High Commission in November 2016 on suspicion of participating in an espionage ring.
According to investigations, Aftab travelled to Pakistan in May 2014 with a legal visa under the pretence of seeing his frail maternal grandmother. Aftab’s visa application had already been turned down three times, and Meherban Ali used his connections at the Pakistan High Commission to entice him into joining the espionage ring by promising him a visa.