Indian scientist promised info about Brahmos missile, drones to Pakistan agent: ATS

Indian Brahmos missiles. [File Photo]

Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) has said that Pradeep Kurulkar, a senior scientist at the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), who is currently being investigated for espionage, had promised Pakistani agent to share a report on the BrahMos missile with her.

Additionally, the discussions between them also included information about other Indian missiles and drones.

Kurulkar’s alleged actions of leaking confidential information to a Pakistani intelligence operative have led to his arrest in May.

He is now facing charges under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) due to the severity of the accusations against him.

The investigation is ongoing, and authorities are likely to continue scrutinizing his activities and connections to establish the extent of the breach of classified information.

Earlier, the ATS filed the chargesheet against Kurulkar, who was the director of one of the labs of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in Pune, in a court.

He was arrested on May 3 under the Official Secrets Act and is now in judicial custody.

Kurulkar and ‘Zara Dasgupta’ were in contact through WhatsApp as well as voice and video calls, the chargesheet mentioned.

‘Dasgupta’ claimed to be a software engineer based in the UK and befriended him by sending obscene messages and videos. During the investigation, her IP address was traced to Pakistan, the ATS said in the chargesheet.

The Pakistani agent tried to get classified and sensitive information regarding the Brahmos Launcher, Drone, UCV, Agni Missile Launcher and Military Bridging System, among other things, it said.

“Kurulkar, who was attracted to her, stored the classified and sensitive information of DRDO on his personal phone and then allegedly shared it with Zara,” the chargesheet said.

He chatted with her about various projects, including surface-to-air missiles (SAM), drones, Brahmos and Agni Missile Launchers and UCV, it said.

The two were in contact from June 2022 to December 2022, as per the ATS.

Just before the DRDO initiated an internal probe after his activities were found to be suspicious, Kurulkar blocked Zara’s number in February 2023. He soon received a WhatsApp message from another unknown Indian number, asking ‘Why you blocked my number?’

The chat records also showed that he shared his personal as well as official schedules and locations with her despite knowing that he was not supposed to share them with anyone, the chargesheet said.

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