Nagpur (Maharashtra): Nishant Aggarwal, BrahMos scientist who was arrested on Monday on the charges of spying for Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), was in touch with Pakistani intelligence operatives through two fake social media profiles running under the names ‘Neha Sharma’ and ‘Pooja Ranjan’. Aggarwal had allegedly been sharing sensitive information about the research unit of Defence Research and Development Organisation facility in Nagpur.
The alleged spy was arrested for violating the Official Secrets Act and espionage. UP-ATS, while seeking permission to take Agrawal to Lucknow for further investigation, told the court that despite being in a “highly sensitive work”, Aggarwal’s “casual” attitude on the internet made him an “easy target” of the ISI. The UP-ATS has been granted a three-day transit remand by the court for further questioning.
The police told the court that the fake social media profiles, based out of Islamabad, are believed to be operated by Pakistan’s intelligence operatives. The ATS added that some classified files with red markings were also found in his personal laptop seized from his residence. If shared, such sensitive information could be a threat to the country, the officer said.
“We have found a certain secret and ultra-sensitive information on his personal computer. It should not been there on his personal laptop. It violates the provisions of the OSA, and hence he has been arrested,” the statement added. Aggarwal is accused of leaking sensitive information on the BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles to foreign countries. As per the media reports, Nishat Aggarwal has previously leaked sensitive information to the United States.
Nishant Pradeep Aggarwal, a young scientist working with the BrahMos Aerospace Pvt Ltd (BAPL)’s missile research centre in Nagpur, was arrested on Monday on alleged charges of spying for Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI and other countries, informed sources said. Aggarwal, who had been working for the last four years in the BAPL, was nabbed in a joint operation of Uttar Pradesh Police and Maharashtra Police.
Aggarwal was put under surveillance by the Military Intelligence, UP police and Maharashtra police following a tip-off. Following the arrest of Aggarwal, the UP-Anti Terrorist Squad (UP-ATS) also raided residences of two other unidentified persons in Agra and Kanpur, an official statement of the Uttar Pradesh Police said on Monday. The police have seized 4 laptops, 2 mobile phones, Google and Facebook data from the two men.
The information on Aggarwal spying for Pakistan’s ISI came to light after the Border Security Force (BSF) nabbed a person in Noida and two fake Facebook IDs of women created in Pakistan were put under observation after they were found to be chatting with Agrawal.
Hailing from Roorkee in Uttarakhand, Aggarwal had been recently awarded the “Young Scientist Award” for the year 2017-18. The young scientist had been living in a rented flat in Ujjwala Nagar of Nagpur and got married earlier this year.