BrahMos staffer held for spying taken to Lucknow

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 10 Oct 2018 08:21:43

(left)Nishant Aggarwal(right)The cops taking the accused (face covered) out of court on Tuesday.

Staff Reporter,

UP ATS obtain three-day transit remand of the accused Nishant Aggarwal

The cops tell the court that Aggarwal was in touch with ‘Neha Sharma’ and ‘Pooja Ranjan’, which are believed to be fake Facebook IDs operated from Pakistan

“I believe my son is not guilty,” says Nishant’s father

BrahMos Aerospace staffer held on charges of espionage

NISHANT Aggarwal, a Senior Systems Engineer with BrahMos Aerospace Pvt Ltd facility in city, arrested on Monday on charges of spying for Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and some other countries, was taken to Lucknow by Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of Uttar Pradesh Police after obtaining his three-day transit remand on Tuesday.



The UP Police team outside the rented accomodation of Aggarwal in Ujjwal Nagar in city, on Monday. (Right) Nishant’s father Dr Pradip Aggarwal talking to mediapersons on Tuesday

The cops produced Aggarwal before Judicial Magistrate First Class N B Jadhav. After going through the papers, the court granted three-day transit remand of Aggarwal to the ATS officers. Aggarwal was working as In-charge of Hydraulics-Pneumatics and Warhead Integration Unit of BrahMos production centre.

The cops stated in the court that Aggarwal was in touch with ‘Neha Sharma’ and ‘Pooja Ranjan’, which are believed to be fake Facebook IDs operated from Islamabad in Pakistan. These two accounts are suspected to be operated by Pakistani Intelligence agency. The UP ATS officers told the court that Aggarwal was ‘casual’ on the Internet despite working in a sensitive installation.

The cops had seized his old laptop from his residence in Roorkee in Uttarakhand apart from his personal laptop in use presently from his rented accomodation in Ujjwal Nagar in Nagpur. Given the fact that some classified files ‘with red markings’ were found in Aggarwal’s personal laptop, the cops sought to conduct a detailed probe and produce him before the Special Court in Lucknow.

Aggarwal was booked under Sections 3, 4, 5, and 9 of Official Secrets Act; Sections 419, 420, 467, 468, 120(B), and 121(A) of the Indian Penal Code; and Section 66(B) of the Information Technology Act. Dr Pradip Aggarwal, father of Nishant, was in the city on Tuesday. Responding to queries of mediapersons, Dr Aggarwal said that his son was innocent. “I believe he is not guilty. I have not seen any evidence being claimed by the investigating agencies, so I cannot comment on that. If he is proven guilty in court, then, yes, he is guilty. I shall be with court decision,” he said.

On Monday, ATS units of UP and Maharashtra Police carried out a joint operation in the city and arrested Aggarwal. Manish Chandra Sonkar, Deputy Superintendent of Police of UP ATS, led the team comprising personnel from Maharashtra and UP ATS. Since the arrest of a Border Security Force (BSF) personnel last month, UP ATS has been keeping a close watch on persons whose names figured in the course of investigation. A couple of days ago, UP Police ATS arrested a woman in Kanpur and confiscated some electronic devices from her. A person from Agra also was quizzed in the same matter and his laptop was seized.
Aggarwal was working as Senior Systems Engineer at BrahMos Aerospace facility in Nagpur for past four years.

He hails from Roorkee in Uttarakhand. He studied at St Gabriel’s Academy, and later did engineering at National Institute of Technology (NIT) at Kurukshetra. He worked as a Research Intern at IIT-Roorkee, then moved on to work as Undergraduate Intern (Technical) at Indian Oil Corporation. He also worked as Research Intern at Technical University of Darmstadt (Germany), and as an Engineer at NIT-Kurukshetra, before joining BrahMos Aerospace.

Recently, Aggarwal was honoured with the ‘Young Scientist Award’ at the hands of Secretary (Defence R&D) and Chairman of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). Dr Sudhir Kumar Mishra, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of BrahMos Aerospace as well as Director General of DRDO, also was present in the programme.

BrahMos Aerospace is a joint venture company between DRDO (India) and Joint Stock Company Military Industrial Consortium NPO Mashinostroyenia (Russia).
BrahMos Aerospace, initially, chose not to play up the development. One source said, in effect, that BrahMos being a commercial company, lots of details often were handed out to possible clients or their agents or even vendors, and the element of secrecy was not so dangerously high. However, the source added, deeper investigations may lead to something more critical in terms of national security. New Delhi.