NAGPUR: Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terrorist Squad (UP ATS) in coordination with their Maharashtra counterparts and military intelligence unit nabbed a Nagpur-based Defence Research Development Organization (DRDO) engineer associated with Brahmos missile project on Monday.
Engineer Nishant Agarwal was held on charges of possessing and passing on classified information about the missile project to Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) across the border. Meanwhile, two of his accomplices, one from Kanpur and other from Agra, are also under the scanner of ATS.
Agarwal, working as a senior engineer, was heading Hydraulics-Pneumatics and Warhead Integration (Production Department) at BrahMos Aerospace facility on Wardha Road in Nagpur.
According to UP ATS sources, besides, handling new projects at BrahMos Nagpur and Pilani Sites, Agarwal was heading a team of 40 employees, including the technical staff and systems engineers, under him.
As per IG, UP ATS, Asim Arun the name of Agarwal, who had won Young Scientist Award from Government of India for his exemplary services in 2017-18 and basically belongs to Roorkee in Uttarakhand, surfaced during interrogation of honey-trapped BSF jawan Achutanand Mishra arrested recently from Delhi on charges of sending photos, videos of 3D model of BSF Academy, arms and ammunition on WhatsApp to an ISI agent.
"Following the lead given by Mishra, we scanned profiles of some other women on Facebook only to find that a 'woman impersonated self as an employee of a US company had befriended Agarwal in 2016. Later, she lured him to work for her in lieu of a handsome remuneration," said IG Arun.
He added that after thorough probe the woman posing as an employee of a US company was found to be actually belonging to Pakistan.
"Engineer Agarwal, rounded up in Nagpur, had got the information stored in his laptop which was seized by the ATS. The information is certainly sensitive and falls in the category of breaching Official Secret Act (OSA), so the engineer has been booked under Sections of Official Secret Act," said the IG.
The action at Nagpur is believed to a follow up of the arrest of three persons, including an ISI agent and two DRDO employees at Kanpur.
The cops who grilled the trio found that Agrawal too was in contact with them. The ISI agent had established a contact with him through facebook using a pseudo name. As per the highly-placed sources in ATS revealed that Agarwal used to supply vital inputs to his ISI handlers through a 'coded game'. They also added that efforts are on to decode the gaming codes and decrypt it.
While the engineer was held after ATS raided his residence in Nagpur, but the modus operandi of passing on information to ISI was an issue under probe.
The UP ATS also conducted raids at two more places -- Kanpur and Agra -- but nothing significant was recovered from the possession of the aides of Agarwal. Another laptop from Agarwal's house was also seized.