India-Pakistan Spy Games: A Study in Contrast

The way India and Pakistan treat each other’s ‘spies’ is a study in contrast. On 10 April, Pakistan awarded the death sentence to Indian national Kulbushan Jadhav after a military court found him guilty of “espionage and sabotage activities”. India has since made 15 requests for consular access to Jadhav, each of which have been denied by Pakistan.

India recognises Jadhav as an Indian Navy officer who took premature retirement and was abducted from Iran. Pakistan maintains that he is a serving officer who was involved in subversive activities and was caught in an counter-insurgency operation in Balochistan.

Meanwhile, in Bhopal, the police is feeding and sheltering a convicted ISI operative who finished serving a twelve year sentence for espionage. Sajeed Muneer has, by default, become the responsibility of the district special branch (DSB), after Pakistan refused to respond to deportation requests from India. Basically, Pakistan has disowned its spy, who was caught, tried, convicted and subsequently released. And India is footing the bill for his food and shelter.

On 28 March, Minister of State for Home Affairs, Hansraj Ahir, told Rajya Sabha that India had arrested 33 Pakistani spies in the last one year. But India has never executed anyone on charges of spying for Pakistan.

Compare this to Pakistan. The 47-year-old Jadhav is the third known Indian national to be sentenced to death by a Pakistani court on charges of spying. Sarabjit Singh, who was on death row for 16 years, was murdered by fellow inmates in Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat jail in 2003. Sheikh Shamim was executed in 1999.

Here’s a list of five of the most well-known cases of Pakistani spies who were arrested on Indian soil.

1. Sajeed Muneer

Pakistani spy Sajeed Muneer was sentenced to prison in 2004. (Photo: ANI screengrab)

In 2004, Sajeed Muneer was sentenced to 12 years in jail for spying on Indian Army bases in Bhopal for Pakistan’s ISI. After his release, India sent an extradition request that has gone unanswered for the last ten months.

According to reports, Muneer was on the run after killing a man in Karachi to avenge the murder of his brother. At the time, an ISI man he came in contact with allegedly offered him safe passage from Karachi.

Current status: Muneer has been relocated near the Koh-e Fiza police station. The Bhopal police and the district special branch have been jointly paying for his food and essentials.

Also Read: PIL Asks Govt to Approach ICJ For Kulbhushan Jadhav’s Release

2. Bodhraj

On 22 October 2016, the Jammu and Kashmir police arrested Bodhraj, a resident of Arnia tehsil in Jammu district, near the international border in Samba. Two Pakistani SIM cards, deployment maps, two Indian mobile phones and a memory card were recovered from him.

He was accused of passing on information regarding the deployment of the Indian troops and their movements to the Pakistani forces. Following an FIR, Bodhraj was booked under Section 13 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and 3 Official Secret Act.

Current status: Inspector Satish Kumar in the Samba district told The Quint that Bodhraj is currently in judicial remand.

3. Nandlal Maharaj

Nandlal Maharaj told Indian authorities that 35 kilograms of RDX had been smuggled across the India-Pakistan border for terror activities. (Photo: ANI screengrab)

In August 2016, the RAW, Intelligence Bureau and the Rajasthan state police nabbed Pakistani national, Nandlal Maharaj, on charges of espionage.

The police recovered two mobile phones, 20 Pakistani SIM cards, and a diary from Maharaj. It was revealed that the diary contained details of financial transactions between the spy and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

Current status: Jaisalmer’s Superintendent of Police Gaurav Yadav told The Quint that Maharaj was arrested by the Border Intelligence Forces. He is currently under detention.

4. Mohammed Eziaz

Islamabad resident Mohammed Eziaz was arrested from Meerut Cantonment area. (Photo: PTI)

The Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force (STF) arrested Mohammed Eziaz, alias Mohammed Kalam, in November 2015, on charges of spying and sending information about the Indian Army to the ISI. A resident of Islamabad, Eziaz was arrested from Meerut Cantonment area.

The STF had received a tip-off regarding the movement of a Pakistani spy who had entered western Uttar Pradesh via Bangladesh. They tracked his movement to Meerut when he was en route to Delhi with vital information about the Indian Army.

The STF recovered several documents containing information about the Army, a fake Aadhaar card, and a fake voter identity card, among other items.

Current status: An FIR was filed against Eziaz at the Sadar Bazaar police station in Meerut. When contacted, there was no response from the officials at the police station on Ezaz’s current status.

5. Thameem Ansari

The Tamil Nadu Intelligence authorities arrested Thameem Ansari, a suspected ISI agent, from Trichy in September 2012.

The officials seized two DVDs containing training videos of the Indian Army at the desert and visuals of Army parades. According to an investigator who spoke to The Hindu, Ansari’s future assignments were to videograph the naval command at Vishakhapatnam and the Sulur Air Base.

He was charged with helping ISI through two Sri Lankans in Colombo.

Current status: A former SFI member, Ansari was released from the Trichy jail six months later, when the Madras High Court quashed the charges levelled against him under the National Security Act.