On Monday, BrahMos scientist Nishant Aggarwal was arrested under the charges of spying for Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). He was in touch with Pakistani intelligence operatives through fake Facebook accounts under the names of Neha Sharma and Pooja Ranjan. Reportedly, he was sharing sensitive information about the research unit of Defence Research and Development Organisation facility in Nagpur. The police has stated that Nishanth was in a “highly sensitive work”, but his “casual” attitude on the internet made him an “easy target” of the ISI.
ATS has stated that some classified files with red markings were found in his personal laptop which was seized from his residence. The officer claimed that if Nishant has shared some sensitive information then there can be a threat to the country. The statement 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.”
Reportedly, this is not the first time when Nishant has leaked sensitive information to a foreign country. Earlier Aggarwal had leaked information to the United States. He has been accused of leaking sensitive information on the BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles to foreign countries.
Nishant has been working with the BrahMos Aerospace Pvt Ltd (BAPL)’s missile research centre in Nagpur for the last four years in the BAPL. He was nabbed by Uttar Pradesh Police and Maharashtra Police in a joint operation.
After getting a tip-off, he was put under surveillance by the Military Intelligence, UP police and Maharashtra police. After arresting Nishant on Monday, the UP-Anti Terrorist Squad (UP-ATS) also raided residences of two other unidentified persons in Agra and Kanpur. The police has seized 4 laptops, 2 mobile phones, Google and Facebook data from the two men.
Aggarwal, who hails from Roorkee in Uttarakhand, was awarded the Young Scientist Award for the year 2017-18. He was living in a rented flat in Ujjwala Nagar of Nagpur and got married earlier this year. We tried searching for Nishant on Facebook, but looks like his account has been suspended.