LUCKNOW: Stenographer Ragvendra Ahirwar, posted at the Jhansi collectorate and was detained by Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) on Friday was formally arrested and booked under different sections of the Official Secrets Act (OSA) on Monday.
The steno is accused of passing on classified information about military firing exercises, movement of military columns, deployment of units at Babina Cantt to a strange caller who identified himself as Major Yadav.
Ragvendra Ahirwar revealed that the stranger used to make internet calls to him and had spoofed a local number through SIM box. This man, a suspected ISI agent, extracted all the information about army units reaching Babina Cantt for firing exercises. He was in touch with Ahirwar since 2009.
Ragvendra Ahirwar also revealed that the calls were made through the internet and the number only had 9 digits instead of the normal 10. He said Major Yadav had told him he was not authorised to receive calls due to confidentiality.
IG ATS Aseem Arun said, “Ahirwar has leaked sensitive information to a stranger and it amounts to a criminal offence. Ahirwar was not selling secrets for money but still what he did was illegal. Sections 3, 4, 5 and 9 of the Official Secrets Act were slapped against him.”
Investigating agencies are also keeping a vigil over the activities of the sub divisional magistrate posted in Babina Cantt whose office is on the district collectorate premises.
Ragvendra Ahirwar is believed to have also told interrogators that the SDM had asked him to help Major Yadav.
Working on a specific tip-off by IB, state’s ATS had landed in Jhansi last week and put Ragvendra Ahirwar under surveillance. On Friday he was detained for questioning and his cell phone, computer, hard disk and pen drive were seized for probe.
Intelligence agencies also scanned his bank accounts, transactions since 2009 and the accounts of his kin. As no proof of a money exchange surfaced, Ragvendra Ahirwar was not arrested.
With massive field firing range, Babina is one of the biggest exercise ranges with the most vital army installations in the country where hundreds of army units practice with the latest artillery and weapons.
Ragvebdra Ahirwar used to extract the information needed by ‘Major Yadav’ from the district magistrate’s office, as the Jhansi collectorate receives all letters regarding firing exercises. Army authorities inform the district administration in advance so as to alert the villagers living nearby. Ragvendra Ahirwar used to have access to all such communiqués.