Pakistan using SIM cards of nabbed Gujarati fishermen for information about Defence establishments: NIA

New Delhi [India]: In a major breakthrough, Pakistan’s role in using SIM cards of some arrested Gujarati fishermen to obtain information about Indian defence establishments has come to the fore.

These Indian fishermen from Gujarat were arrested by Pakistan Maritime Security Agency in 2020 when they were fishing on the high seas, according to a charge sheet submitted by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in a special court in Hyderabad in the Andhra Pradesh espionage case.

Naming two persons– Altafhussen Ganchibhai alias Shakil,27, a resident of Gujarat, and Waseem, a Pakistani national– the charge sheet mentions their involvement in conspiracy and espionage activities with an intention to wage war against India.

Ganchibhai and Waseem have been charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and 120B (criminal conspiracy), 121A (conspiracy to commit offence) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and 66C of the Information Technology Act.

The case was originally registered on January 10 last year at the Counter Intelligence Cell police station in Andhra Pradesh’s Vijayawada district and was re-registered by the NIA on December 23 last year pertaining to criminal conspiracy to “carry out anti-national activities by Pakistani agents for obtaining crucial and sensitive information linked to Defense establishments from Indian Armed Forces personnel by engaging civilians as their agents using Social Media Platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram”.

“Investigation has revealed that Ganchibhai, on directions of Pakistan based handlers had clandestinely activated WhatsApp by passing on OTPs received on Indian SIM numbers to his handlers in Pakistan for collection and transmission of sensitive information pertaining to Indian Defense forces and establishments,” the charge sheet states.

As per the charge sheet, these SIM cards were subscribed in the name of the Indian fishermen from Gujarat.

“Investigation established that these SIM cards were illegally routed back to India to the arrested accused Altafhusen Ganchibhai, who activated seven such SIM cards on directions of his handlers in Pakistan,” reads the charge sheet.

Ganchibhai was arrested on October 25 last year in this case.

However, the charge sheet states that Waseem had routed money clandestinely through online Cryptocurrency exchange platforms to Indian agents for eliciting sensitive and classified information pertaining to vital Indians Defense establishments. He is currently absconding. (ANI)

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