Reported By: Ankur Sharma
Last Updated: June 11, 2023, 09:40 IST
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has taken over the Visakhapatnam espionage case, registered in January, 2021, from the counter-intelligence cell (CIC) of Andhra Pradesh.
The FIR says the suspected offence is related to the conspiracy hatched by accused Deepak and others to carry out anti-national activities in Visakhapatnam.
“…investigation by the state police has so far received about involvement of Foreign Intelligence operatives (FIO) in this case. Money was also transferred to various accounts/ persons for collection of secret information relating to sensitive and vital installation, defence establishments in Visakhapatnam and other places of the country,” the FIR said.
According to the FIR, the case has been registered, under IPC Sections 120B & 121A, sections of UAPA and under Official Secrets Act.
The FIR was earlier registered by Andhra Pradesh Police’s counter-intelligence cell in January 2021. Since foreign intelligence operatives are involved in the matter, it was required to be investigated by the NIA in accordance with the National Investigation Agency Act, 2008, the FIR said.
This is not the only case which the NIA is investigating. In another case, which the NIA took over on December 29, 2019, the similar modus operandi was adopted by the foreign intelligence operatives. This case was originally registered by the same counter-intelligence cell under criminal conspiracy and waging or attempting to wage war against the Indian government and sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and Section 3 of Official Secrets Act.
The 2019 Visakhapatnam espionage case relates to an international racket involving individuals based out of Pakistan and different locations in India, including in Visakhapatnam and Mumbai.
It included agents in India recruited by Pakistan-based spies between 2011 and 2019, who were collecting sensitive and classified information about locations or movements of Indian naval ship and submarines and other defence establishments.
The investigation revealed that a few navy personnel came in contact with the Pakistani nationals through various social media platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp.