The Uttar Pradesh anti-terrorist squad (ATS) has arrested a suspected ISI agent, who worked at the home of an Indian diplomat in Pakistan, from Uttarakhand's Pithoragarh district, officials said today.
Ramesh Singh Kanyal, who was arrested from his home in Didihat area in Pithoragarh yesterday, worked as a cook at the diplomat's residence in Islamabad from 2015-17, officials in Lucknow and Pithoragarh said.
Kanyal -- who was picked up in a joint operation with the Uttarakhand police and military intelligence and is suspected to have bugged the diplomat's residence -- has been taken to Lucknow for interrogation, Pithoragarh SP Ramchandra Rajguru said.
A Pakistani phone was recovered from his possession.
Kanyal is accused of passing on confidential information to Pakistan's International Services Intelligence for money while he was in Islamabad, the SP said.
Preliminary inquiries have also revealed that Kanyal was asked to collect information on some military establishments in Uttar Pradesh, the state ADG (Law and Order) Anand Kumar added in Lucknow.
"We hope that several things will be known during thorough interrogation, especially what all he was asked to do by the ISI," Kumar said.
"It appears the ISI used a local agent and lured him with money. He fell prey to it and started leaking out information...in the two years he got dollars in return for sharing inputs," he said.
The official added that Kanyal was under debt and needed money to pay off loans he had taken from a bank and from locals in his village.
Further interrogations would reveal whether Kanyal passed on information to Pakistan's intelligence agency just for money or for other reasons too, he said.
"The house of the diplomat was bugged. His devices (laptop and phone) were also bugged. It seems the ISI used temporary employees at the embassy involved in cleaning operations to get in touch with Ramesh," a senior UP police official added.
He would through the laptop, other electronic devices, diaries and files to pass on information to ISI agents, he said.
Ramesh is said to have got the job at the diplomat's house in Pakistan through his brother in the Indian Army.
He confessed to his role and gave important inputs about his anti-national activities following which he was arrested, officials said.
Giving details of Kanyal's arrest, they said the UP ATS had earlier this month nabbed a Faizabad resident Aftab with the help of military intelligence for spying.
On the basis of inputs obtained during his interrogation, some other suspected ISI agents came on the ATS' radar.
An FIR in this connection was filed on May 20 in Lucknow under section 121A (waging war against the Government of India) of the IPC and under sections 3/4/5/9 of Official Secrets Act, 1923.
It was during the course of investigations into the case that Ramesh was questioned on May 22 and a search was carried out at his residence in Pithoragarh, an ATS official said.
A Pakistani 'Q-mobile' phone, given to him by the ISI for contacting them, was recovered, the official said, adding that data extraction of the instrument could provide vital clues.
It is suspected that the phone, which is being sent for forensic examination, could have a spyware.
Q-Mobile is a phone brand in Pakistan that offers affordable touch screens, QWERTY, Wi-Fi and Android operating system facilities.
Kanyal had come into contact with the ISI in Islamabad and was recruited as an agent of the agency.
Piecing together a narrative, an official said Kanyal would convert the dollars he got for leaking secret information to Indian rupees during his visits to India for holidays and take the money to his village.
When Kanyal returned to India, he was asked by Pakistani ISI officials to spy for them and was also given the phone.
Efforts will be made to get a police remand for Kanyal, now on transit remand, for detailed interrogation, he said.
He will be questioned about the information leaked by him and how much money he had been paid for it and where he used it.
He will also be quizzed about the target given to him in Uttar Pradesh for spying, officials added.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)