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BrahMos Aerospace engineer held for leaking info to Pakistan

Nishant Agrawal (face covered with scarf) being arrested Monday.

Nishant Agrawal (face covered with scarf) being arrested Monday.

An engineer working at the BrahMos Aerospace Private Limited centre in Nagpur was on Monday arrested on charges of illegally possessing highly sensitive and secret documents, the Uttar Pradesh police said.

The police is probing if the engineer, identified as Nishant Agarwal, transmitted the confidential data to Pakistan agency ISI, as officials suspect.

Mr. Agarwal was arrested from his residence in Nagpur in a joint operation by the anti-terror teams of UP and Maharashtra.

During the search, “secret and highly sensitive documents” were found in his personal computer, UP ATS IG Aseem Arun told reporters here.

Possessing of such documents is “in itself a violation of the Official Secrets Act,” said Mr. Arun.

The officer said they were still probing if Mr. Agarwal had transmitted the documents to Pakistan and whether he received any money for it.

Mr. Agarwal was allegedly in touch with two Pakistan-based Facebook profiles and the ATS has downloaded the chat history to analyse the interaction in detail. The two IDs were apparently fake, made under the name of women, said the ATS, suggesting a case of suspected honey-trap.

While the ATS seized material from his residence in Nagpur, an old laptop belonging to the accused was also recovered from his native in Roorkee in Uttarakhand.

The computer will be analysed, said Mr. Arun.

The ATS also said that it was probing what interaction Mr. Agarwal had with the Pakistan-based Facebook IDs. Additional charges could be incorporated based on further evidence.

Police have also questioned two persons in Kanpur and Agra in connection with the case. Their laptops have also been seized.

The information about the FB IDs came during investigation of BSF jawan Achutanand Mishra, who was arrested last month from Noida on charges of allegedly spying for the ISI after being ‘honey-trapped’ on social media.

Mr. Agarwal studied at the NIT Kurekshetra and was considered a brilliant student. In a recent Facebook post, he mentioned being as the 'Young Scientist Award' by the Secretary Defence and Chairman of the DRDO.


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Printable version | Jul 2, 2022 4:29:38 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/drdo-staffer-held-for-espionage-links/article25157737.ece