Kairana in Uttar Pradesh’s Shamli district has been on the radar of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) for a long time for the alleged association of some of its residents with the Pakistan intelligence agency ISI and through them with the terror outfit Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT), IB officials told this newspaper. Kairana is in the news over the alleged “exodus” of the Hindu population from the town for fear of anti social elements.
As per intelligence officials, they have always been tracking Kairana as many of the terror modules that have been busted in recent time had links to residents there. “For four successive years—2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013—we busted terror modules that had links with Kairana. These modules were not just related to fake Indian currency notes (FICNs) but the people who were arrested were carrying out espionage activities for the ISI, apart from procuring and managing arms for terror groups owing allegiance to the ISI,” a senior intelligence official said.
Fifty-six-year-old Iqbal Kana, a proclaimed offender who is now operating from Pakistan, is Kairana’s most notorious name, said an IB officer. Kana, who is the ISI’s point man for flooding India with FICNs, fled to Lahore in the early 1990s and works there as a garment trader at present. “The ISI has made sure that he looks like a small-time trader to the public, but in reality Kana is pumping FICN into India. The interrogation of multiple LeT and Indian Mujahideen operatives has confirmed that Kana is still running the show and is in regular touch with his contacts in Kairana and the neighbouring areas,” a security agency official said.
After fleeing the country, Kana planted his contacts in Punjab, in areas near the India-Nepal border and along the India-Bangladesh border so that he could send FICN into India. “All these resources were cultivated by Kana through his old associates in Kairana. In January 2012, Kana tried to send Rs 2.2 crore worth of FICN but his parcel was intercepted by us. Next year, in 2013, he sent another consignment of Rs 25 lakh, but we intercepted that as well. I am sure we missed many other consignments,” said an official who was involved in these operations.
Intelligence officials said that because of high levels of unemployment, gullible youths from the minority community fall for the easy money that is promised by Kana, whose henchmen are very much active in Kairana.
“Kairana has around 100 official history-sheeters, all of whom have direct or indirect links with Kana. Being a part of this illegal racket gives them a sense of power and identity and they, then, try to extort money from general traders and businessmen, irrespective of their religion,” the official said. According to the 2011 Census, 80.74% people of Kairana are Muslims, while 18.34% are Hindus.
Kana, who is also known by the name Adis Iqbal alias Malik Bhai, owns two shops: one at Shalimar Gate in Lahore and another at Azam cloth market in Lahore. Once the FICNs are printed, Kana makes sure that these reach his people in Nepal and Bangladesh, who then deliver them to his associates in India in West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh.