Arrested cop was deputed to sneak into Lashkar

The trail of the SIM cards recovered from terrorists in Mumbai has led to a J&K policeman who was arrested by police in New Delhi, taking the lid off an undercover operation that had successfully sneaked deep inside Lashkar ranks. Mukhtar Ahmed—a 'follower' in District Special Branch of J-K police in Srinagar district—had been deputed for an undercover operation.

Sources reveal that the modus operandi was simple: he had managed to sneak inside the Lashkar ranks and become one of their trust-worthy aides. It is learnt that a Lashkar operative needed SIM cards for their men and sought Ahmed's help, who contacted Tausif Rehman based in Kolkata. And when the police found out that a SIM card recovered from a Mumbai attack site was one of the 22 Rehman sold to Ahmed, they immediately arrested both.

A sub-inspector of J&K Police, sources say, was also with Ahmed when he was arrested. The sub-inspector, however, was released later last evening. Ahmed—a resident of Rang Parestan, Rainawari in Srinagar—had been appointed a follower in the police after his brother was killed by the militants. He was later promoted as a constable after he did "exemplary work" in counter-insurgency. It is not known how and where Ahmed handed over the SIM card to the Lashkar men.

The J&K Police are tightlipped about the entire issue because there is apprehension of "compromising" other similar operations. It is not known whether any government agency actually managed to get active intelligence inputs based on the surveillance of these SIM cards. Sources reveal that the J&K police had communicated the details of the SIM cards to "concerned people" for keeping a watch too.

Such operations are, in fact, the backbone of J&K Police's counter-insurgency effort where the human intelligence and the technical intelligence—generated through phone interceptions etc—are put together to foil militant attacks through pre-emptive action.

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