NEW DELHI: A small mistake on part of the ISI in preparing passport for Indian Mujahideen's (IM) Pakistani operative Zia-ur Rehman alias Waqas landed him in the net of Indian agencies. Waqas had been hiding in Bangladesh and was supposed to leave for Pakistan via Nepal when he was apprehended by India's external intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). According to sources in the security establishment, though there had been some information about the possibility of Waqas being in Bangladesh, Indian agencies were clueless about his exact location. However, their sustained interest in the ISI agent who had been loaned to IM made Waqas's handlers in Pakistan's spy agency worried that their asset had been exposed and needed to be brought home. Accordingly, ISI got a passport made for Waqas. However, when he reached the airport, Bangladesh's immigration officials discovered that there was no entry stamp on his passport. Even as they set out to detain him, the commotion attracted the attention of a RAW staffer who swiftly used his smart phone to photograph one of India's biggest tormentors and relayed it to his superiors. RAW officers were thrilled when they saw that the six-feet man being held at Dhaka airport was their elusive quarry. What followed was an intense spy game in which Indian agents managed to spirit him away to India without leaving footprints. How they managed to get him out of the airport and then to India remains unclear. But Waqas proved his utility by furnishing details of IM cells with whom he had collaborated and who would host him. The success was kept a closely guarded secret and Waqas was "encouraged" to do web chats with IM operatives, particularly Tehseen Akhtar "Monu", without raising suspicion. Waqas's monitors made him seek a meeting with Tehseen. Although the IM commander was holed up in Rourkela at the time, intelligence agencies resisted the temptation to get Waqas to seek a rendezvous with him in Odisha's steel city. Instead, Waqas was made to insist that the meeting should happen, as usual, at their known hideout in Nepal. As an unsuspecting Tehseen set out for Nepal, Indian agencies alerted their counterparts in the neighbouring country. Nepal Police, in a remarkable example of cross-border counter-terror cooperation, had the meeting point sealed as soon as Tehseen arrived. He was detained and later "pushed" into West Bengal to be "arrested" by Delhi Police. The operation and the blow it has dealt to IM has been a source of huge respite and pride for Indian agencies. However, the celebration of the success is marred by the regret over the mishandling of Yasin Bhatkal's arrest. Unlike Waqas, agencies never got to spend "free time" with Bhatkal because of what sources allege was the "political cowardice" of Bihar authorities. That a garrulous officer of an agency blurted out the breakthrough to his colleagues in Bangalore did not help. With the word out about Bhatkal being in Indian custody, TV channels were soon swarming all over, forcing the agencies to comply with the procedures. Now, the top-ranking jihadi terrorist, assured of the safeguards enshrined in the Constitution, has been giving a hard time to interrogators. Sources said the shrewd terrorist would turn back the interrogators by saying he was feeling fatigued, or that he needed to focus on his spiritual obligations. That the lesson has been learnt was evident when RAW and IB did not involve others before the stage of arrest in Waqas's case.