DRDO scientist arrested for espionage had exploited two women with promise of jobs, says Maharashtra ATS

The bulk of the ATS charge sheet is centred on Kurulkar’s communication with Pakistani spy calling herself ‘Zara Dasgupta’

July 11, 2023 07:43 pm | Updated 07:43 pm IST - Pune

Pradeep Kurulkar, a senior scientist of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) who was arrested in May by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) for passing confidential information to a Pakistani agent, had also sexually exploited two women by promising them jobs in the DRDO, said the charge sheet filed by the ATS.

As per the 1,837-page charge sheet, Mr. Kurulkar, a lab director at the DRDO, allegedly exploited the women by luring them with the promise of securing jobs in the institute.

These revelations came to light after Mr. Kurulkar’s arrest on May 3. The ATS team interrogated the two women, who disclosed that Mr. Kurulkar had allegedly called them to the DRDO restroom. The ATS team interrogated the victims and recorded their statements.

The bulk of the ATS charge sheet is centred on Mr. Kurulkar’s communication with the Pakistani spy calling herself ‘Zara Dasgupta’.

It includes Mr. Kurulkar’s WhatsApp chats and transcripts of his voice calls with the Pakistani agent, where the scientist chatted with her about Indian missile systems among other classified defence projects.

‘Dasgupta’ claimed to be a software engineer based in the U.K. and befriended him by sending obscene messages and videos. During the investigation, her IP address was traced to Pakistan, the ATS said in the charge sheet.

Classified information

The Pakistani agent tried to obtain classified and sensitive information regarding the Brahmos Launcher, Drone, UCV, Agni Missile Launcher and Military Bridging System, among other things, it said.

“Mr. Kurulkar, who was attracted to her, stored the classified and sensitive information of the DRDO on his personal phone and then allegedly shared it with Zara,” said the charge sheet.

Mr. Kurulkar reportedly chatted with her about various projects, including surface-to-air missiles (SAM), drones, Brahmos and Agni Missile Launchers.

The two were in contact from June 2022 to December 2022, as per the ATS authorities.

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