An engineer working at the BrahMos Missile Research Centre in Nagpur was arrested on Monday on charges of spying for Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI and other countries. Nishant Agrawal, the arrested scientist, is suspected to have leaked information about India’s Brahmos missile, police said.
Agrawal, 28, was arrested in a joint operation by the Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squads (ATS) in Ujjal Nagar on Monday. His home and the Brahmos Aerospace office in Dongargaon, 40 km south of Nagpur, were searched.
Agrawal is a senior system engineer with Brahmos Aerospace, a joint venture between DRDO and Russia’s Military Industrial Consortium (NPO Mashinostroyenia) that works on India’s supersonic cruise missile, which can be launched from launched from land, air, sea and under water. Last year it tested certain advanced versions of the weapon system.
Agrawal, who won DRDO’s young scientist award a few months ago lived with his wife.
“We never thought that Agrawal would be linked with spying,” said his landlord Manohar Kale.
Kale said Agrawal’s wife belonged to Bhopal and the couple married four months ago.
Media reports claim Agrawal was arrested based on inputs given by a member of the Hizbul Mujahideen group who was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh ATS in Kanpur a few days ago. He is suspected of working for ISI and American intelligence agencies and passing on secrets related to the Brahmos missile to these countries.
The regional Defence Public Relations Officer, Group Capt Basant Pande said in a brief message said Agarwal was not a direct employee of the DRDO but was working with Brahmos Aerospace Private Ltd.
Investigators said Agrawal may have shared details over Facebook, claimed to have found sensitive information on his computer, and added that he is being taken to Kanpur for further questioning.