Pakistan High Commission
The police arrested Mahmood Akhtar acting on a tip-off and interrogated him at a police station in Chanakyapuri. [Representational Image]Reuters

The crime branch of the Delhi Police detained an official from the Pakistan High Commission on Thursday over espionage charges. The official has been asked to leave India within 48 hours.

Three other people — Ramzan, Shoaib and Subhash — have been arrested in Rajasthan for leaking those documents to the official. The Delhi Police said that "defence deployment, BSF deployment maps, visa related documents (were) recovered from both the spies."

Ramzan and Subhash have been sent to police custody for 12 days while Shoaib is being brought to Delhi for further investigation.

Thirty-five-year-old Mahmood Akhtar has been accused of allegedly spying and stealing documents related to defence. The police arrested him acting on a tip-off and interrogated him at a police station in Chanakyapuri. However, he was permitted to leave due to diplomatic immunity.

"He was a havaldar in the Baloch regiment of Pakistan army (and) was later hired by ISI. (He) was working in the visa department in the High Commission... They were carrying out the activities since last one and half years, but we were keeping an eye on them for the last six months," the Delhi Police said.

Ravindra Yadav of the Delhi Police told reporters that Akhtar "said he is an Indian citizen and also showed a fake AADHAR card."

The police have sent a report on the official's arrest to the Ministry of External Affairs, while the officials from the crime branch have briefed Minister of Home Affairs Rajnath Singh and Delhi's Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung about the situation.

Pakistan's High Commissioner Abdul Basit strongly protested against the detention of Akhtar by the police on Thursday.

"Basit strongly protested with Indian Foreign Secretary at the detention and manhandling of Pakistan High Commission staffer yesterday in violation of 1961 Vienna Convention," sources in Pakistan High Commission told the media adding that the Pakistan High Commissioner also asked the Centre to make sure that such harassment does not take place in the future.

The arrest comes in the wake of tense relations between India and Pakistan over terror attacks being carried out on Indian soil by Pakistan, especially the Uri attacks that claimed the lives of 19 soldiers.

The Indian Army also carried out surgical strikes on terror launch pads across the Line of Control on September 29, killing two Pakistani soldiers and 38 terrorists.

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