Nagpur (Maharashtra), Oct 9 (IANS) A Nagpur court on Tuesday granted to Uttar Pradesh Police the three-day transit remand of scientist Nishant Agrawal, arrested a day earlier on charge of spying for Pakistan intelligence agency ISI and other countries, officials said.
The Uttar Pradesh Police will soon take him to Lucknow for obtaining his proper remand and further investigatin the sensational case.
The UP Police informed Judicial Magistrate (First Class) S.M. Joshi that the accused, working in the BrahMos Aerospace Pvt Ltd and arrested under the Official Secrets Act, was in touch with certain Pakistani intelligence operatives via two Facebook accounts operated under assumed names of ‘Pooja Rajan’ and ‘Neha Sharma’.
These accounts, created in Pakistan capital Islamabad, are reportedly operated by the Inter-Services Intelligence and Agrawal was found chatting with them, police said after presenting the accused in the court on Tuesday.
The UP-ATS had monitored these fake accounts aimed to honeytrap key officials working in sensitive defence-related organisations in India.
Agrawal was accused of leaking sensitive information on the BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles to foreign countries.
The ATS said that certain secret and ultra-sensitive information was found on Agrawal’s personal computer which it said “should not have been there, and it violates the provisions of the OSA.”
The joint ATS teams of the two states also searched his office and from another location seized an old laptop which is being examined.
They said that after the investigations into what kind of chats he was indulging in with the fake accounts on Facebook, the accused may be slapped with additional charges.
The UP-ATS also raided two other persons in Agra and Kanpur and seized their laptops for investigations.
As per preliminary information, Agrawal was reportedly passing on certain highly classified information to the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) as well as the USA.
However, official circles here are not aware of his access to the type of sensitive information or security clearance levels Agrawal enjoyed in the company.
Hailing from Roorkee in Uttarakhand, the young scientist had been living in rented home in Ujjwala Nagar of Nagpur in central India, and got married earlier this year.
Among other things, the BrahMos centre here is involved in manufacturing certain critical components for the BrahMos missile, considered the world’s fastest cruise missile that can be launched from land, ships, aircraft or submarines.
The Indo-Russian joint venture’s development of the latest version of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile has elicited keen interest in global defence circles and several major political powers in the world.
The missile — successfully test-fired on July 16 from the Integrated Test Range at Balasore in Odisha — is an outcome of a joint venture of India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation and Russia’s NPO Mashinostroyenia Corp since 2011.