Visakhapatnam: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested a key accused, Giteli Imran, 37, in the famous Visakhapatnam espionage case related to alleged leaking of sensitive information to Pakistan intelligence agency, ISI.
So far, 16 people, including 11 sailors of the Indian Navy, were arrested under the code name Operation Dolphin Nose for allegedly being involved in the racket.
Imran, a native of Panchmahal, Godhra, Gujarat, was arrested on September 14 under Sections 120 B and 121 A of IPC, Sections 17 and 18 of UA (P) Act and Section 3 of Official Secrets Act for his involvement in espionage activities and working for Pakistan’s ISI.
The case is related to an international espionage racket in which Pakistan-based spies recruited agents in India for collecting sensitive and classified information regarding locations and movements of Indian Naval Ships and submarines and other defence establishments.
Investigation revealed that a few navy personnel came in contact with Pakistani agents through social media platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, etc. They shared classified information in lieu of money deposited into their bank accounts through Indian associates of Pakistan’s ISI who had business interests in Pakistan.
A charge-sheet has been filed in a case on June 15, 2020, against 14 accused persons.
The investigation revealed that Imran was associated with Pakistani spies/agents under the guise of cross-border cloth trade.
As per the directions of Pakistan-based spies, he deposited money into the bank accounts of Indian Navy personnel at regular intervals in lieu of sensitive and classified data provided by them. Some digital devices and incriminating documents have been seized in the search conducted at the house of Imran on Monday. Further investigation into the case is on.
Espionage is not new to Vizag in Andhra Pradesh, which hosts the headquarters of the Eastern Naval Command (ENC) of Indian Navy.
The Intelligence Bureau sleuths and Naval personnel arrested four Naval personnel and chief security officer of Naval Armament Depot in 2001.
The Naval officials said that two of the four arrested persons passed on a micro-film containing pictures of ENC, including Naval Dockyard and Shipping Building Centre, to ISI agents in Nepal.
Dolphin’s Nose is a hill adjacent to Eastern Naval Command in Vizag, housing the residential complexes and offices of Indian Navy. The hill resembles Dolphin’s nose.