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Wednesday, 22 February 2012

From Today's Papers - 22 Feb 2012
Pakistani ‘spy’ arrested
Shaurya Karanbir Gurung
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 21
Delhi Police has found that a Pakistani national arrested for spying could have a contact point in the national capital through whom he procured sensitive defence-related documents.
Alleged Pakistani spy Kamran Akbar being taken to a court in New Delhi on Tuesday.
Alleged Pakistani spy Kamran Akbar being taken to a court in New Delhi on Tuesday. — PTI

The Pakistani national has been identified as Asif Hossain, also known as Kamran Akbar alias Attar. He got married and settled down with an Indian woman from West Bengal in October 2009. Hossain had a driving licence issued in West Bengal, an Income Tax PAN card and an international debit card of United Bank of India. He also holds an Indian passport and an Election Commission photo identity card - both issued in Kolkata. The police claimed that as a cover-up, he was running a garments business.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime and Railways) Ashok Chand said, “Hossain was like a resident agent in India for Pakistani military intelligence agencies. The Crime Branch of Delhi Police had recently nabbed him with confidential defence documents near the New Delhi railway station. His handlers across the border had tasked him with cultivating links with defence personnel and relaying information about the Indian Army.”

On February 13, the police was tipped off about the agent who would arrive at Delhi to receive some secret documents from his contact. Police said the man who was to deliver the documents was an Army personnel. Police nabbed him from Chelmsford Road leading to the New Delhi railway station from Connaught Place.

Police said Hossain was planning to take the documents to Kolkata for further transmission to his handlers in Pakistan. He reports to a man identified only as Chauhan and he is a “military officer”, according to the police.

According to a source, one of his contacts was a retired Indian Air Force official, from whom he could not extract vital information. He had also gone to the Pakistan High Commission to collect funds, relay information or probably act as a courier to send the defence documents. A team of the Crime Branch raided his house in Kolkata. The investigating agencies found some “hand-written notes”, which, according to Hossain, were made during his training that was imparted by the Pakistani military intelligence at Multan.
Resident Pak spy’ arrested in Capital
Declare Adarsh a security threat: Army
MUMBAI: With the Maharashtra government shying away from implementing the 2011 ministry of environment & forests order to demolish Adarsh, the defence ministry has opened another front to reclaim land on which the controversial 31-storey building stands in Colaba.

The local army unit has filed a writ demanding that Adarsh be declared a security threat to the Colaba military station. Calling it a 'private' society, the petition said Adarsh being the tallest building overlooks military establishments like the Electrical and Mechanical Engineering (EME) workshop, a storage and disbursal depot for petrol, oil and lubricants, within 27 metres to a maximum 400 metres.

"The entire top decision-making echelons-the General Officer Commanding (GOC) window being clearly visible-at the headquarters of the Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa (MG&G) area can be eliminated with sniper rifles and other hand-held weapons with the building barely 200 metres away,'' the petition filed through Deepak Saxena, major general (chief of staff) of MG&G area, said.

Citing the case of US president Barack Obama watching live in Washington the operation to kill al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, the petition pointed out that it may be possible for residents of the building to observe numbers and types and movement of personnel, specialist and general purpose vehicles that may be parked in the workshop, from which their availability/serviceability can be analyzed.

"...potential residents of Adarsh and their guests, who could be foreign nationals, will not be under the jurisdiction of the Indian Navy or Indian Army authorities and hence not amenable to security checks,'' army officials added, detailing a range of hand-held weapons available with terrorists that can be smuggled into Adarsh.

The army pointed to violations in provisions of development control regulation 16, which states the municipal commissioner can reject a building proposal if he considers it to be source of danger to the health and safety of inhabitants of the neighbourhood.

The role of five GOCs from 1999 to 2010 as being responsible for the security risk arising from the building was also pointed out. "Each successive GOC, be it A R Kumar, V S Yadav, T K Kaul, Tejinder Singh and R K Hooda, or their family members, were given a flat and thus, none objected to the land under occupation and owned by the army to Adarsh,'' officials said.

To buttress security concerns, the army cited the example of Pakistani American national David Coleman Headley, currently in US custody, who surveyed sites across the city before the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai.

The army said that to ensure a Adarsh-like situation is not repeated, they (in addition to the Western Naval Command) have sent a proposal to the defence ministry to restrict the construction and height of private buildings around 500 metres of the military station.

It added that as early as June 2003, the then defence estate officer has raised the issue of a security threat with the collector of Mumbai. In fact, it mentioned that the occupation certificate (OC) was issued to Adarsh despite a written request to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority ( MMRDA) to withhold its issuance, citing security concerns in 2010.
Indian Army organises vehicle repair training
IMPHAL: The Indian Army organized a two-week vehicle-repair training camp at Ningthoukhong village at the banks of the picturesque Loktak lake in Bishnupur district as part of their ongoing military civic action programme. The innovative and unprecedented camp that kicked off on Monday aims to generate self-employment opportunities to the state's youth and enable them to earn their livelihood, a statement issued by the Army said.

Around 40 local youngsters are participating in the camp. Around seven lakh educated youths of the state's 27 lakh population have registered their names at the state employment exchange department and unemployment is one of the major challenges the strife-torn Manipur is facing.

The camp, organized by 6/8 Gorkha Rifles of Loktak brigade under the aegis of the army's Red Shield Division, will teach the trainees to repair commonly used vehicles - including light four-wheelers, motorcycles and auto rickshaws - in the state, the statement said . Training in various types of welding and tyre and tube repair are also being given to the local youths numbering.

Speaking at the inaugural function of the training, commanding officer of Gorkha Rifles urged the youth to gain technical skills and derive maximum benefit from the camp. The talented youngsters of Manipur must hone their skills to seek alternate sources of employment, he said, assuring maximum support from the Army through its Military Civic Action Programmes.

Meanwhile, the same unit of the Gorkha Rifles, which is also instrumental in countering insurgency in and around Loktak, also distributed 25 solar lanterns to the villagers of Nungjang in Senapati district, Charai Khullen in Tamenglong and Laimanai and Kukimun in Churachandpur.
Army chief, Antony meet for first time after Supreme Court age ruling
NEW DELHI: More than ten days after the Army chief withdrew his petition on the age issue from the Supreme Court, defence minister A K Antony and Gen V K Singh met for the first time at an award function here today.

After the Supreme Court had ruled on February 10 that Gen Singh will continue to maintain May 10, 1950 as his date of birth in official records, the army chief had not met the minister as he was out of the capital on official tour. The atmosphere during the meeting was cordial and the defence minister and the army chief exchanged pleasantries, ministry sources said.

Gen Singh also briefed the defence minister about his four-day visit to Britain and the meetings and discussions he held there, they said. Soon after the proceedings in his case ended in the Supreme Court, the army chief left on a two-day visit to Jaipur-based South Western Command. After coming back, he left on a four-day trip to Britain and returned yesterday.

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