Cuttack: The Odisha Crime Branch has taken over the investigation of an espionage case in which four contractual employees of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)’s Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur in Balasore district have been arrested on charges of leaking sensitive information, related to national security, to suspected Pakistani agents.
In compliance with the direction of Odisha DGP Abhay, a four-member team of Crime Branch, headed by Additional SP Prasant Kumar Bisoyi, has left for Balasore to take charge of the investigation.
On Tuesday, a special squad of Balasore Police nabbed the four accused persons from the main gate of the DRDO’s integrated test range (ITR) on charges of passing on vital information about the high-security defence installation to some ‘foreign agents’ over the telephone and other means.
The accused were identified as Basanta Behera (52) of Jhampura, Hemanta Kumar Mistri (52) of Buanal, Tapas Ranjan Nayak (41) of Palisa and Sk Musafir (32) of Srikona. They were produced before the court of Sub-divisional judicial magistrate (SDJM), Balasore on Wednesday.
As per reports, the four accused were deployed in manual operational works at the defence installation at Balasore. While Basanta Behera and Sk Musafir were working as contractual AC operators at ITR Chandipur Hemanta Kumar Mistri worked as a contractual DG operator, and Tapas Ranjan Nayak as contractual employee at ITR main gate.
A Case No.76, Dt.14.09.21, U/S- 120-B/121-A/34 IPC-R/W- Sec-3, 4&5 of Official Secrets Act has been registered by Balasore District police against the four accused for committing the offence of causing serious harm to the security, sovereignty and integrity of the nation.
Police have found credible intelligence that some persons were wrongfully and willfully communicating the classified defence secrets to foreign agents, appearing to be Pakistani agents, being contacted from various ISD phone numbers, in exchange of monetary benefits from them. On the basis of these inputs, multiple police teams were formed to apprehend the culprits.
A similar case in Balasore district was earlier registered in Chandipur PS which was investigated by Odisha Crime Branch. In February 2015, Ishwar Chandra Behera, who was engaged as a cameraman at ITR Chandipur was arrested on charges of sharing secret data to Pakistan. On February 11, 2021, Behera, was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for spying for Pakistani intelligence agency ISI.