Aftab Ali was the first one to get arrested by the Special Task Force from Faizabad, 120 km from Uttar Pradesh's capital Lucknow. A police officer said the maps of an army installation in Faizabad and photographs of the cantonment area in his mobile phone confirmed police suspicions about his involvement in an espionage ring.
The police said he had been to Pakistan once after he was recruited for espionage by the ISI, and is believed to have been in touch with some officials of the Pakistan High Commission in Delhi. Sources said the police was also trying to identify the official concerned at the high commission and would report its findings to the government with the evidence.
Altaf Qureshi, a hawala operator who also allegedly worked for ISI from Mumbai, and Javed Naviwala, 31, were arrested from Mumbai, UP's STF chief Aseem Arun told reporters. The fresh arrests in Mumbai follow Aftab Ali's questioning in UP.
The police have seized 71.5 lakh rupees in cash from Qureshi, not surprisingly given allegations that he was involved in hawala. Javed, the police said, would get instructions to credit Aftab's bank account from time to time; Qureshi would do the needful.
The police said investigators were trying to figure out if there were other spies who were being funded through this channel.