<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mehmood Akhtar, a Havildar in the Pakistani Army, was handpicked for the espionage mission by a top army officer who was once in the race to be the Pakistan Army Chief. Intelligence officials told DNA that Akhtar was part of the 40 Baloch Regiment after joining the Pakistan Army in 1997 before being sent to the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) on deputation on the recommendation of a Lieutenant-General, who also happened to be the Colonel Commandant of the regiment.Sources said Akhtar was deputed to the Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi in January 2014 after undergoing a three-month special training in espionage.Soon after recommending him for the ‘special assignment’, the Lieutenant-General retired six months later. This officer was in the race to be Pakistan Army chief but lost out narrowly, as he retired months before then chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani’s scheduled retirement in 2013.”Mehmood Akhtar was just a Havildar, one of the lowest ranks in the army but he had the backing of the Pakistan Baloch Regiment Colonel Commandant,” said an intelligence official.Akhtar was not alone. A senior who he reported to was also sent for the assignment along with him on the recommendation of the same officer, sources said. The Delhi Police also confirmed that Akhtar got his deputation to ISI in January 2013.”His interrogation disclosed that he was posted in Pakistan High Commission, New Delhi, for about two-and-a-half years and was working in the visa section,” said Joint Commissioner (Crime Branch) Ravinder Yadav.”He also disclosed that he is on deputation to ISI since January 2013 and is a serving Havildar of the 40 Baloch Regiment of Pakistan Army,” he added. Akhtar’s name was disclosed while officials were tracking other spies. “He was on special assignment and came under the crosshairs of intelligence sleuths recently, though other local spies were under the scanner since January,” sources said.
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