Maharashtra-UP ATS cracks down on hawala network with ISI link

Mumbai: The joint operation of Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) and its Maharashtra counterpart has cracked down on a major hawala network which was operating in India at the behest of Pakistani intelligence agency, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Three ISI agents, one from UP and two from Mum bai, have been arrested in a day.

First Aaftaab Ali was arrested in Faizabad by the UP ATS in coordination with Military Intelligence on Wednesday evening. The UP ATS has revealed that Ali has received training from the ISI in Pakistan and was in touch with officials in the Pakistan High Commission. The UP ATS was in possession of strong evidence against him.

After grilling interrogation of Ali led to the arrest of another ISI agent Altaf Hanif Qureshi (33) from Mumbai’s Masjid Bunder area on Wednesday late evening. Qureshi is a resident of Rajkot district of Gujarat and he was staying in Mumbai in rented accommodation. “Qureshi is the person who transferred the money to Ali’s account,” said a Maharashtra ATS official.

The ATS official further added that more than 20,000 people of Rajkot’s Dorji area reside in Karachi. “The people residing in Dorji have good reasons to be in touch with the people in Pakistan.”

Qureshi is in the business of hawala operations for Jawed Naviwala (29), who has been arrested from his house in Agripada area of Mumbai in the wee hours of Thursday.

“Qureshi was the paid employee of Naviwala, who is involved in hawala trade since 2009. It was Naviwala who used to get the firsthand instructions from Pakistani’s ISI to finance Ali for conducting espionage activities,” said the ATS source.

“Naviwala had been kept under close surveillance since last two months. Earlier he denied his role but later he confessed after we showed a number of evidences against him,” said the ATS source.

The call history of his mobile revealed that Naviwala’s had made several international calls. He had direct links with ISI in Pakistan. He was asked to transfer the money on charity for medical reasons.

“Naviwala was asked by his boss in Pakistan to transfer Rs 15,000 to the account of Ali. He then asked Qureshi to transfer the money. We have also recovered Rs 71.57 lakh from Qureshi’s possession,” said an ATS official.

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