பாகிஸ்தான் நாட்டில் உள்ள ஐ.எஸ்.ஐ. அமைப்புக்காக, இந்தியாவில் உளவு பார்த்த ராணுவ ஆராய்ச்சி மற்றும் மேம்பாட்டு நிறுவனத்தில் (டி.ஆர்.டி.ஓ) புகைப்படக்காரராகப் பணிபுரியும் ஈஷ்வர் சந்திர பெஹரா என்பவரை போலீஸார் கைது செய்துள்ளனர்.
அவர் கடந்த 10 மாதங்களாக பாகிஸ்தானின் ஐ.எஸ்.ஐ. அமைப்புக்காக, இந்தியாவின் ஏவுகணை பரிசோதனை மையத்தை உளவு பார்த்துள்ளார். அவரிடம் இருந்து இரண்டு கணினி டிஸ்க்குகள், இரண்டு கைப்பேசிகள் மற்றும் வங்கி பாஸ்புக் ஆகியவை பறிமுதல் செய்யப்பட் டுள்ளன.
இதுகுறித்து காவல்துறை உயர் அதிகாரி அசித் பனிக்ரஹி கூறும்போது, “உளவுத் துறையிடம் இருந்து பெஹராவின் சந்தேகத்துக்குரிய நடவடிக்கைகள் குறித்து தகவல் வந்ததையடுத்து நாங்கள் அவரைக் கைது செய்தோம். விசாரணையின்போது தான் உளவு பார்த்ததை ஒப்புக் கொண்டார்” என்றார்.
ISI agent Ishwar Chandra arrested in Odisha
The worst security nightmare has come true. A day after the Intelligence Bureau (IB) sounded an alert about a possible terror strike in four states, including Odisha, by Pakistan based jihadi groups, a cameraperson employed with the Interim Test Range (ITR) in Chandipur in Balasore district has been arrested on charges of passing on sensitive information about missile tests to Pakistani spy agency ISI.
The man, identified as Ishwar Chandra Behera, was working as a cameraperson in ITR on contractual basis since 2007 and had been engaged in espionage activities for the past 8-10 months, Eastern Range IG Asit Panigrahi revealed on Friday.
Representational image. AFP
Two computer hard disks, two mobile handsets and a bank passbook have been seized from his possession, the IG said.
Sources in the police said Behera had been put under surveillance for a week after intelligence inputs about his seemingly suspicious activities. He was taken into custody and formally arrested today.
“A case has been registered against him at the Chandipur police station under section 120 B (criminal conspiracy) and 121 A (treason). He will be produced in the court today. We will seek to take him on 14-day remand for further interrogation,” Panigrahi said on Thursday.
It is not clear as yet if he was acting as a lone ranger or had others working with him, he added. While it is difficult to foretell what further interrogation may reveal, the information that has already been ferreted out of him during the questioning since yesterday is nothing short of scary.
Behera, the IG revealed, had been passing on advance information about missile tests and deployment to his ISI handler, who is apparently based in Kolkata.
Perusal of his call records have revealed that he was in constant touch with several people, including his Kolkata based handler, some of whom were based outside the country. Besides, he frequently met his handler in person in Kolkata during his trips to the city on the pretext of getting cameras and other equipment repaired.
Scrutiny of his bank account at the Chandipur branch of SBI has revealed that money had been transferred to his account frequently through internet banking and money orders from places as far off as Mumbai, Meerut, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Abu Dhabi.
The ITR in Chandipur is easily the most important installation — and perhaps the most vulnerable too — given the lax coastal security in the state. While metropolis like Mumbai and New Delhi, which have already faced multiple terror attacks, have upgraded their security preparedness considerably, Odisha has a long way to go. What makes it particularly vulnerable is its 480-km long coast line on which foreign fishing trawlers have a virtual free run.
Illegal Bangalsdeshi immigrants, who have settled all along the coast with patronage from politicians, are another possible source of danger for the coastal state.
The 18 marine police stations set up along the coast are grossly short of manpower and equipment and hardly inspire confidence.
The there is the famous Lord Jagannath temple in Puri, which witnesses thousands of people on a daily basis and lakhs during the annual Rath Yatra, making it a terrorist’s delight.
The preparedness of the state police can be gauged by the fact that it had no inkling about two Indian Mujahideen (IM) operatives, who apparently did a recce of possible targets last year, staying in hotels in Bhubaneswar and Puri for over a week. Mercifully, they were arrested by central agencies before they could carry out any strike.
Arrested Indian Ishwar Chandra accused of passing secrets to Pakistan’s ISI
(Reuters) – The police arrested a 35-year-old man on Friday in Odisha, accusing him of passing military secrets to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency.
Police said Ishwar Chandra Behera was passing on information about missile activities conducted at a unit of India’s Defence Research & Development Organisation, where he worked as a cameraman.
“He was providing vital information related to missile tests and other military activities to an ISI agent for the past 8-10 months,” Odisha’s inspector general of police A.K Panigrahi told Reuters. “He confessed that he had met an (ISI) agent in Kolkata a number of times.”
India accuses elements in Pakistan’s army and ISI of shielding or working with militant groups, which Islambabad denies.
Tensions between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan, which are also at odds over the disputed region of Kashmir, have risen since Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called off peace talks in August. Troops on both sides have exchanged fire across the border in recent months.
Police said they found a substantial amount of money had been transferred to Behera’s bank account from several places including Abu Dhabi and Mumbai. They are investigating if he was assisted by anyone else.
“We had information that his activities are suspicious and he should be watched … He confessed he is in touch with the ISI agent and is passing on very vital information,” Panigrahi said.
Reuters could not contact Behera, who is in custody.
India has stepped up security, especially in the capital New Delhi, in preparation for a three-day visit by U.S. President Barack Obama, starting on Sunday.
(Writing by Aditya Kalra; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)