Brahmos spy case: Lured with a job, how Agrawal set a trap for himself
New Delhi, Oct 10: As investigations continue into the BrahMos spy case, it has been learnt that the trap was set through two Facebook accounts being run from Islamabad.
Two accounts in the name of Pooja Ranjan and Neha Sharma were used to get in touch with Brahmos Aerospace engineer Nishant Agrawal, who was arrested earlier this week by the Anti Terrorism Squads of Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.
Agrawal was an easy target for the ISI, a UP ATS official tells OneIndia. It was quite surprising the amount of data he had put out about himself on the social media. He was working on a very sensitive project, but his social media accounts had a lot of details about him. He had put up the nature of the job he was doing, his rank and his professional details.
Further his attitude on the social media was very casual, as a result of which he fell trap easily, the officer also said. The officer also said that he was trapped with the lure of a job. The two girls who chatted with him offered him a high paying job in the United States.
The transcripts also revealed that the Pooja had told him that she was from London, while Neha said she hailed from Chicago. They have been chatting for quite sometime now, the officer said.
It was his casual attitude and the amount of information he put out that made him a potential target. The big module working in India to identify those working in the defence sector did not find it hard to spot such a potential candidate.
ATS IG Aseem Arun informed that very sensitive information has been found on Agrawal. He also said that they have in their possession chat transcripts which show that he was chatting with some Pakistan based operators on Facebook.
The trail is expected to get longer, with two more persons coming under the scanner in connection with the same probe. The source said that there is nothing concrete found on these two persons as yet and hence we are not revealing their identity. We are probing the matter to find out if something more comes up. However we are sure that this is a huge ring and many more names would crop up during the future course of our probe.
ATS sources further added that on Agrawal's laptop, they had found confidential information pertaining to defence and security. The extent of the information that was shared is still under investigation. However we can confirm that what ever had been shared was very sensitive in nature.
Agrawal during the questioning was unable to give any satisfactory answer as to why such confidential information was on his laptop. We are studying the history of the conversations and this will tell us the nature and extent of the information that he had shared since the past two years, the officer also said.
Agrawal was privy to a lot of information. He was supervising new projects at the BrahMos facilities at Nagpur and Pilani. Among the information that was sought by the handlers was the new technology that was being developed jointly by India and Russia.
Officials said that they suspect that the information was not being shared only with the ISI, but another foreign agency as well. When the news of his arrest broke out on Monday, it was said that he was also in touch with an American agency. The information that was sought was related to the seekers. It is the seeker technology that determines the accuracy of a missile. It may be recalled that the BrahMos was successfully flight tested with an indigenous seeker.
The agencies are also probing if Agrawal had leaked sensitive data pertaining to the supersonic cruise missile BrahMos to his handlers in Pakistan. ATS sources say that he had used a coded game to send across vital information to his handlers. The ATS would have more information once they are able to decode the gaming codes and decrypt the information.