NIA Team Joins Crime Branch In Probing Espionage Case In Odisha’s Balasore

DRDO Security Officer Under Police Scanner

Balasore: A two-member team of National Investigation Agency (NIA) that reached the district headquarters here has begun to go into details of leakage of classsified information from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur. The counter terrorist task force has been briefed by Balasore police about the incident that led to the arrest of five persons so far.

The NIA team comprising IT and forensic experts are expected to visit the sensitive areas in the ITR and interrogate the accused after seeking their remand.

Meanwhile, the Crime Branch police have started interrogating the Chief Security officer of DRDO at the office of IG (Eastern Range) here in the presence of the Inspector General to unearth the manner in which sensitive information has allegedly been leaked out from the integrated test range.

According to Crime Branch Additional Superintendent Prasant Bisoi, five persons have been arrested on charges of espionage and transmitting crucial defence secrets to Pakistani agents. The Crime Branch in association with Cyber Police would go into the details of the crime which cannot be revealed at this point of time in view of the sensitivity of the issue, Bisoi added.

The police on Thursday arrested a driver, Sachin Kumar Chatta, in connection with the espionage in the ITR. A man of Meerut (Uttar Pradesh), Chatta has been residing in the ITR Colony occupied by many scientists and technical officers.

Earlier, four contractual employees – Basanta Behera (52) of Jhampura, Hemanta Kumar Mistri (52) of Buanla, Tapas Ranjan Nayak (41) of Palasia and Sk Musafir (32) of Srikona – were arrested. The five have been booked under various sections of the Official Secrets Act.

A contractual photographer of ITR, Iswar Chandra Behera, who was arrested on the charges of espionage six years ago and awarded life sentence in February this year, had allegedly received money from Meerut in exchange of information and photos from the ITR.

“The NIA will investigate if there is any link between the two cases and whether the agents are the same persons. Since the accused had shared information about the missile tests, the NIA may go deeper to ascertain who else are involved and what more might have been shared,” said an official.

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