BALASORE: The arrest of a Tamil-speaking man, suspected to be an informer, from the Wheeler Island, the only test facility of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for long range missiles, has exposed the vulnerability of the vital installations to hostile agencies.
Sources said the 30-year-old man, who identified himself as Thomas from Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu, was apprehended by the defence security personnel while he was moving suspiciously near the entrance of the Wheeler Island two days back and handed over to marine police for interrogation.
He was, however, produced in a local court in Bhadrak on Thursday as an unidentified person and remanded in judicial custody. The police suspected the identification of the person as sometimes he posed as a mad man and sometimes as a fisherman. His native place is yet to be established as the information shared by the person has serious anomalies.
The incident came nearly three months after the arrest of contractual DRDO employee Iswar Chandra Behera on charges of supplying classified information to the Pakistan spy agency ISI. Close on the heels of the espionage case, the sudden appearance of the man has put the defence personnel in a fix.
While the Wheeler Island is located approximately 12 km from the Dhamra coast and is accessed only by boat as there is no bridge connecting the island to the mainland, how could Thomas (if he is identified correctly) land there hoodwinking the security personnel is still a million dollar question.
The sources said a group of five persons, who came in a boat, dropped him in the Island in a bid to collect information about the test facility. He was suspected to have been asked to work as a labourer under a contractor and collect vital information. Before the plan could be executed, he was arrested, the source said.