Mumbai: NIA Arrests Delivery Boy From Kurla In Vizag Espionage Case Linked To Pakistani ISI Spy Network

Mumbai: NIA Arrests Delivery Boy From Kurla In Vizag Espionage Case Linked To Pakistani ISI Spy Network

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has apprehended Amaan Salim Shaikh from Kurla, Mumbai, following raids conducted at two locations in Mumbai and another in Hojai, Nagaon district, Assam.

Ashish SinghUpdated: Tuesday, November 21, 2023, 12:17 AM IST
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NIA headquarters in New Delhi | X/NIA

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday arrested one more accused in the Visakhapatnam espionage case involving leakage of classified defence information through a Pakistani ISI spying network.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has apprehended Amaan Salim Shaikh from Kurla, Mumbai, following raids conducted at two locations in Mumbai and another in Hojai, Nagaon district, Assam.

Details of the arrested

According to reliable sources, he worked as delivery professional for various food delivery companies. He is suspected to have visited Pakistan a few years ago, where his relatives reside, and is believed to be linked with Pakistan-based operatives. He is also alleged to have received funds for arranging logistical support.

With his arrest, the total number of accused apprehended in the case now stands at three. The NIA has already charge-sheeted a total of four individuals, including two absconding Pakistani operatives.

NIA teams also seized two mobile phones from the location from which Amaan was arrested. Two more mobile phones and a host of sensitive documents were seized from other locations raided by the NIA.

The racket

According to NIA official note, Amaan was found involved in the activation of the SIM cards which were being used by Pakistani Intelligence Officers involved in the racket.

The racket first came to light in 2021, when the Counter Intelligence Cell, Andhra Pradesh, registered a case on January 2021 under sections 120 B (criminal conspiracy) and 121A (Conspiring to commit certain offences against the State) of the Indian Penal Code, sections 17 and 18 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, and section 3 of Official Secrets Act, 1923.The NIA took over the case in June 2023 for the investigation.   

Details of the case

One 19th July, 2023, the NIA had filed a Chargesheet against two accused, including an absconding Pakistani national, Meer Balaj Khan. Investigations had revealed that Meer Balaj Khan, along with an arrested accused, identified as Akash Solanki, were part of an espionage module who were procuring and leaking sensitive vital information pertaining to the Indian Navy to Pakistan based handlers.

In November 2023, the NIA had filed a Supplementary Chargesheet against two other accused persons, identified as Manmohan Surendra Panda and Alven. While Panda is under arrest, Alven, a Pakistani Intelligence Operative, is absconding, as he’s based in Pakistan.

Investigations are continuing in the case and custodial interrogation of Amaan is expected to yield more leads in the conspiracy relating to attempts by foreign based elements to obtain sensitive and classified information relating to defence establishments across the country.

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