The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad said on Thursday that the scientist was in touch with the Pakistani operative through voice messages and video calls on WhatsApp. He is accused of offenses punishable under sections 3 (espionage) and 5 (miscommunication of information) of the Official Secrets Act.
The court of Special Judge SR Navander remanded him in ATS custody till May 9.
The arrest of the scientist late Wednesday night was based on a complaint from an officer D R d oVigilance and Security Office in Delhi. The scientist had allegedly shared with the Pakistani operative a picture of a missile along with its location, besides some of his private pictures which the latter used to blackmail him.
“A DRDO investigating officer had seized a laptop and two mobile phones belonging to the scientist on February 24, and a forensic analysis of the same confirmed that the scientist shared information with Pakistani intelligence operatives in what appears to be a honeytrap,” Exclusive public prosecutor Vijay Fargade told TOI.
Delhi-based DRDO spokesperson VK Kaushik declined to comment on the arrest “at this juncture”. A senior aide of the arrested man described him as “one of our leading scientists developing various launchers including missiles”.
“He has worked on some major projects over the past three decades, and is the recipient of an Outstanding Scientist Award,” Colleagues said.
A senior ATS official, on condition of anonymity, said that the Pakistani operative coerced a woman to befriend the arrested scientist on a social media platform. “The operative posed as a woman, an engineering student from Ambala, and contacted the scientist for research in engineering equipment. Later, on the pretext of discussing their project, the girl began talking to him over phone and sending messages. started sending.
The official said the Pakistani operative was supposed to meet the scientist in New Delhi, but never did. “Later, he started blackmailing her with photos and clips of video calls.”
The scientist was apparently removed from his post two weeks before his arrest.