Former BrahMos Aerospace Engineer Nishant Gets Life Term for Spying for Pakistan’s ISI

RNS: In a landmark verdict delivered today by the Nagpur district court, Nishant Agarwal, a former engineer at BrahMos Aerospace, has been sentenced to life imprisonment for espionage activities in collaboration with Pakistan’s ISI.

Agarwal, who was fined Rs 3,000, will serve 14 years of harsh imprisonment, as per reports emerging from reliable sources.

The court found him guilty under the Official Secrets Act, shedding light on the severity of his actions.

Presiding Judge MV Deshpande announced the verdict, emphasising Agarwal’s violations under sections 66 (f) of the IT Act and various clauses of the Official Secrets Act, in accordance with section 235 of the Criminal Procedure Code. This case has stirred widespread attention, being the first instance of a spy scandal involving a talented engineer within BrahMos Aerospace Pvt Ltd. The revelation of Agarwal’s activities in 2018 sent shockwaves through the company and the nation at large.

Investigations revealed that Agarwal maintained communication with two Facebook profiles allegedly operated by Pakistani intelligence agents based in Islamabad, identified as Neha Sharma and Pooja Ranjan.

Special Public Prosecutor Jyoti Vajani confirmed the court’s ruling, stating that Agarwal was found guilty under the Official Secrets Act, further solidifying the severity of his crimes.

In a joint operation conducted in 2018, authorities, including military intelligence and Anti-Terrorism Squads (ATS) from Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh, apprehended Agarwal, who was employed in the technical research division at BrahMos Aerospace’s missile center in Nagpur.

During his tenure, Agarwal played a pivotal role in the development of India’s supersonic cruise missile, earning accolades for his contributions. However, his betrayal of confidential information to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) led to charges under both the Official Secrets Act and the Indian Penal Code.

The Hindustan Times reported that investigators highlighted Agarwal’s vulnerability due to his lax internet conduct, despite his involvement in critical projects.

Agarwal’s journey from a highly esteemed engineer, honoured with awards such as the Defence Research and Development Organisation’s Young Scientists Award, to a convicted spy underscores the gravity of the situation.

It’s worth noting that Agarwal was granted bail by the Bombay High Court’s Nagpur bench in April last year, prior to today’s sentencing.

However, his life imprisonment marks a definitive conclusion to a saga that has captivated the nation’s attention and raised concerns about national security breaches within sensitive sectors.

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