NEW DELHI: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Friday arrested the key conspirator in the Visakhapatnam espionage case, Mohammed Haroon Haji Abdul Rehman Lakdawala in Mumbai.
Haroon (49), a resident of Mumbai is one of the key conspirators in case dated December 29, 2019, originally registered as FIR at CI Cell, PS Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh u/s 120B and 121A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Section 17 and 18 of UA (P) Act and Sec. 3 of Official Secrets Act, NIA said.
Case relates to an international espionage racket involving individuals based in Pakistan and at different locations in India.
Pak based spies recruited agents in India for collecting sensitive and classified information regarding locations/movements of Indian Naval Ships and Submarines, and other defence establishments.
Investigation revealed that, few navy personnel came in contact with Pakistani nationals through various social media platforms such as Facebook, Whatsapp etc, and were involved in sharing classified information in lieu of monetary gains. The money was deposited into the bank accounts of the navy personnel through Indian associates having business interests in Pakistan.
In the case so far, fourteen accused have been arrested including 11 Navy personnel and one Pakistani born Indian national Shaista Qaiser.
Investigation revealed that arrested accused Mohammed Haroon Lakdawala had visited Karachi, Pakistan on many occasions to meet his handlers under the guise of conducting cross -border trade.
During these visits, he came in contact with two Pakistani spies namely Akbar @ Ali and Rizwan, who directed him to deposit money into the bank accounts of navy personnel at regular intervals. The same was done through different means.
During searches at the house of Md Haroon today, a number of digital devices and incriminating documents have been seized by NIA. Further investigation in the case is underway.