Bihar: A new haven for ISI operatives

Bihar: A new haven for ISI operatives

But two days of rigorous interrogation by the STF and IB men has provided the clearest evidence that Pakistan is using Bihar — the land of Buddha — to spread its tentacles and create mayhem in the country.

A dismissed employee of Indian Army, Sudhanshu worked for the ISI since 2008 and has, so far, passed on information about army units in Secunderabad, Lucknow, Bhuj and Delhi to ISI operatives working in Kathmandu-based Pakistan embassy. As part of the deal with an ISI mole (code named Rana), he had collected vital information about deployment of troops in Pathankot (Punjab), Jammu and Kashmir and ordnance factory in Nalanda (Bihar).

A resident of Sitamarhi in North Bihar, bordering Nepal, Sudhanshu joined the Indian Army in 2002 in the electrical and mechanical engineering unit in Secunderabad. However, five years later, he was court-martialled and dismissed from the service in 2007 on the charge of dubious activities.

Sudhanshu told his interrogators that with the help of another armyman Lance Naik S K Yadav, he had gathered secret information about Bengal Engineering Group Roorkee, 52 Armed Core, some important army divisions including 21, 10, 39, 25, 26, 54 and 91 divisions. Besides, he had collected vital clues about 76 Infantry Battalion and the satellites set off by India for espionage. He had also collected inputs about 87, Mountain Brigade.

Tip of the iceberg

Though the interrogators were taken aback when Sudhanshu revealed his modus operandi, they were not surprised over ISI luring away unsuspecting unemployed youths and dismissed armymen of Bihar as their operatives. In July 2006, when the Anti-terrorist Squad (ATS) men flew from Maharashtra to apprehend two suspects of Mumbai train blast — Kamal Ahmad Ansari and Khalid Sheikh — from a remote village in Madhubani district, the arrest was just tip of the iceberg.

The two Pak-trained militants not only confessed their involvement in the Mumbai train serial blasts, but gave a graphic account of their training. Ansari admitted that he had crossed Wagah border in 2004 on a genuine passport and received an in-depth two-month training at Muzaffarabad in Pak-occupied Kashmir (PoK) where he was under the watchful eyes of ‘Terror Guru’, also known as ‘Cut Out’, a code name for ISI front man at the training camp.

The intelligence sleuths admit that districts in Bihar bordering Nepal have become a safe haven for carrying out subversive activities in other parts of the country in alleged collusion with the ISI. “These districts need close surveillance and constant monitoring from the state police headquarters,” averred a top cop.

To buttress his point he cited the example of arrest of Madani, (a resident of Madhubani) from New Delhi in June. Madani, who admitted his close links with Lashkar-e-Toiba founder Hafiz Sayeed, told his interrogators that he was assigned the task of recruiting young men from Bihar for insurgency, after proper training in handling arms and explosives.

The arrest of Ansari, Khalid, Madani and, now, Sudhanshu shows that Bihar is paying a heavy price for its international porous border with the Himalayan Kingdom — Nepal.