New Delhi, November 20
The NIA on Monday arrested a man in the Visakhapatnam espionage case, which is related to leak of classified defence information through a Pakistani ISI spy network, a spokesperson of the federal agency said.
Amaan Salim Shaikh was arrested from Mumbai following raids at two locations in the Maharashtra capital and another at Hojai in Assam, the official said. He is the third accused to be arrested in the case.
Four people, including Pakistani operatives, were charge-sheeted by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the case.
“Shaikh was found to be involved in the activation of SIM cards that were being used by Pakistani intelligence officers involved in the racket, which first came to light in 2021, when the counter intelligence cell, Andhra Pradesh, registered the case on January 12, 2021, under various sections of Indian Penal Code, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and Official Secrets act,” the spokesperson said.
The NIA took over the case in June. During the raids, the spokesperson said, NIA teams also seized two mobile-phones from the location Shaikh was arrested. Two more mobile-phones and a host of sensitive documents were seized from other raided locations.
On July 19, the NIA had filed a charge-sheet against two accused, including an absconding Pakistani national Meer Balaj Khan.
During investigations, it was found that Khan along with arrested accused, Akash Solanki, was part of an espionage module which procured and leaked sensitive vital information pertaining to the Indian Navy to their Pakistan-based handlers.
On November 6, the NIA had filed a supplementary charge-sheet against two other accused persons - Manmohan Surendra Panda and Alven. While Panda is under arrest, Alven, a Pakistani intelligence operative, is absconding, the spokesperson said.
The official said investigations are underway in the case and custodial interrogation of Shaikh is expected to yield more leads in the conspiracy relating to attempts by foreign-based entities to obtain sensitive and classified information relating to Indian defence establishments.
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