Odisha Police on 14 September arrested four contractual staff of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) at Chandipur in District Balasore for allegedly sharing classified defence secrets to foreign agents, who are suspected to be from Pakistan.
“They were working as lower-rung contractual employees of the DRDO at the Chandipur ITR. Acting on credible intelligence inputs, we came to know the four persons wrongfully and purposely shared classified defence secrets to foreign agents, appearing to be Pakistani agents. The suspected contacted the foreign agents from different phone numbers and received huge money for acting against India’s national security,” inspector general of police (eastern range) Himanshu Lal said.
IGP Lal said police had inputs that classified information was being shared “from within the premises”. He said the four accused worked as lower-rung contractual labourers in DRDO’s Chandipur ITR.
In a media release, the police stated, “Basing on inputs received from reliable sources, four persons have been apprehended for committing the offence of causing serious harm to security, sovereignty and integrity of our nation.” Further investigation is on to “unearth more evidence”, police said.
The suspected, whose identities were not disclosed by the police, were booked under Sections 120-B (punishment for criminal conspiracy), 121-A (conspiracy to wage a war against India) and 34 (act done with common intention) of the IPC and Sections 3, 4 and 5 of the Official Secrets Act.
Police sources said they had first received messages from the agents on Facebook Messenger and thereafter they started talking on WhatsApp via voice and video calls. The agents used fake names and transferred money in exchange for secret information. After tracking them for three days, the 12-member police team nabbed them from their respective houses under Chandipur police limits.
This is the second time such a case of espionage has surfaced at the Chandipur ITR. Iswar Chandra Behera, a former DRDO employee, was arrested on 23 January 2015, by Odisha police for allegedly spying for a foreign agent.
In February this year, Behera was awarded life imprisonment by the additional district and sessions court of Balasore for spying for a foreign agent.