11:06 GMT13 August 2020
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    The arrested scientist, Nishant Agarwal, had been working at the production facility that makes propellants for the nuclear-capable BrahMos missiles and houses sensitive information on the program.

    The young BrahMos scientist arrested on charges of spying for the Pakistani intelligence agency ISI was leaking information to Pakistani agents while he thought he was Facebook chatting with females bearing the name of "Neha Sharma" and "Pooja Ranjan." The police revealed in court today that the fake social media profiles were established to be based out of Islamabad and are believed to be operated by Pakistan's intelligence operatives.

    Indian news agency PTI reports that the police revealed to the judicial authority that Nishant Agarwal was trapped by the ISI owing to his "casual" attitude on the Internet, despite being in a "highly sensitive work" which made him an "easy target" of the Pakistani spy agency.

    Agarwal was arrested by the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) of the Indian Police for violating the Official Secrets Act and espionage. Agarwal is currently in police custody for further questioning and gathering of proof.

    The ATS also informed the court that some classified files with red markings were also found in his personal laptop seized from the residence of Agarwal which could be a threat to Indian security. 

    READ MORE: India Successfully Validates Life Extension Test of BrahMos

    "We have found certain secret and ultra-sensitive information on his personal computer. It should not have been there on his personal laptop. It violates the provisions of the OSA, and hence he has been arrested," the police submitted before the Nagpur court. 

    Agarwal's name surfaced during a probe by an anti-terrorist squad into the alleged links of an arrested soldier of the Border Security Force with Pakistan's ISI.

    Ironically, Agarwal had recently won the "Young Scientist Award" for the year 2017-18.


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    honey trap, sensitive data, espionage charges, social media, BrahMos, India's Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), BrahMos Aerospace Limited, India, Pakistan
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