NIA arrests key accused in Visakhapatnam espionage case from Gujarat

Published: 15 September, 2020 12:39 IST | mid-day online correspondent | New Delhi

The investigation revealed that Imran was associated with Pakistani spies and agents under the guise of cross-border cloth trade

Photo used for representational purpose
Photo used for representational purpose

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Tuesday said it has arrested the key accused in Visakhapatnam espionage case. The accused has been identified as 37-year-old Giteli Imran, a resident of Godhra in Gujarat. He was also working for Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence (ISI).

An NIA spokesperson in Delhi said that the agency arrested Imran on Monday under Sections 120B and 121A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Section 17 and 18 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and Section 3 of the Official Secrets Act.

The investigation revealed that Imran was associated with Pakistani spies and agents under the guise of cross-border cloth trade.  As per the directions of Pakistan-based spies, he deposited money into the bank accounts of Indian Navy personnel at regular intervals in lieu of sensitive and classified data provided by them.

Some digital devices and incriminating documents have been seized in the search conducted at Imran’s house on Monday.

The NIA took over the case on December 29 last year. The case was originally registered on November 16, 2019, at the CI Cell division of Andhra Pradesh Police under criminal conspiracy and waging or attempting to wage war against the Indian government and sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and Section 3 of Official Secrets Act.

The case relates to an international espionage racket in which Pakistan-based spies recruited agents in India for collecting sensitive and classified information regarding locations and movements of Indian naval ships and submarines, and other defence establishments.

Investigation revealed that few navy personnel came in contact with Pakistani agents through social media platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, etc. They shared classified information in lieu of money deposited into their bank accounts through Indian associates of ISI who had business interests in Pakistan.

The anti-terror probe agency has filed a chargesheet on June 15 this year against 14 people involved in the espionage case.

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