NIA chargesheets 2, including Pak national, in Andhra espionage case

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Friday filed a chargesheet against two accused, including a Pakistani national, in connection with the Andhra Pradesh espionage case.

The accused, Altafhussen Ganchibhai alias Shakil and Waseem, the Pakistani national, were chargesheeted for their alleged involvement in conspiracy and espionage activities with an intention to wage war against India.

The NIA chargesheeted them under the relevant sections of the UAPA and IT Act.

Initially, a case was lodged in this regard by the counter-intelligence cell of Andhra Pradesh police in 2020 before the NIA took over the probe in 2021.

The accused were allegedly hatching a criminal conspiracy to carry out anti-national activities involving Pakistani agents for obtaining crucial and sensitive information pertaining to defence establishments from the armed forces personnel by engaging civilians as their agents using social media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram etc.

“The investigation has revealed that Ganchibhai, on the directions of Pakistan-based handlers, had clandestinely activated WhatsApp by passing on OTPs received on Indian SIM cards to his handlers in Pakistan for collection/transmission of sensitive information pertaining to Indian defence forces and establishments.

“These SIM cards were subscribed in the name of Indian fishermen from Gujarat who were earlier arrested by the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency in 2020 when they were fishing in the high seas. The SIM cards were illegally routed back to India to Ganchibhai, who activated seven such SIM cards on the directions of his handlers in Pakistan. He was arrested in 2021,” the chargesheet read.

The NIA said that Waseem had routed money using online cryptocurrency exchange platforms to Indian agents for eliciting sensitive and classified information pertaining to vital Indian defence establishments.

He is currently absconding.

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