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ISI espionage racket case rocks Madhya Pradesh Assembly, minister evades questions

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BHOPAL: The arrest of 15 persons including a BJP IT cell convener for allegedly running Pakistani spy agency ISI's espionage racket in Madhya Pradesh, rocked the State Assembly.

The issue was raised during the budget session on Monday but the Home minister evaded several queries surrounding the probe.

During the call attention motion, Congress leader Govind Singh asked about the action and sougth information that how many of the arrested persons had links with ruling party's cells. The Home minister said that prompt action was taken and 15 persons were arrested.

Also, Congress legislator Ramniwas Rawat asked that when Satvider and Dadu were already arrested in November 2016 in Jammu, why action in MP against their accomplices was taken much later.

The Home minister said that MP police was quick in taking action and accounts of accused were seized. "It is not known who created the software", he said. The minister said that the illegal telephone exchange that was being run had caused a loss of Rs 3,000 crore to Government of India's telecom department.

Earlier, Rawat raised several questions about the racket that was allegedly linked to Pakistan's ISI. He asked whether the mastermind who was behind setting up the telephone exchange and creation of its software was arrested.

The Congress MLA also sought reply on other aspects of the case like how long the spying racket was functioning in the state, the assets accumulated by these men, their earning and funding. However, there was no reply.

The MLA had also asked that how much time after Satvinder and Dadu's arrest (their arrest had led agencies to state) in Jammu did MP police got information about the racket in Madhya Pradesh.

Senior Congress leader Dr Govind Singh took the name of Dhruv Saxena, the functionary of the ruling party's IT wing, who was among the key persons behind the entire racket, and raised questions about poor intelligence.

He said that such incidents were going on in MP for years and yet police were not aware, suggesting major intelligence failure. But the minister said that all aspects could not be disclosed because it was confidential information.

In his reply, Home Minister Bhupendra Singh asserted that there was no intelligence failure.  "Our intelligence is doing fine. Hence, suspects in Indore-Ujjain train blast were promptly caught", he said.