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Ex-Brahmos Aerospace engineer Nishant Agarwal sentenced to life imprisonment for spying for Pakistan's ISI

Former Brahmos Aerospace engineer Nishant Agarwal, apprehended in 2018, was accused of divulging classified information about the Brahmos missile to Pakistan's intelligence agency.

Ex Brahmos Aerospace engineer Nishant Agarwal sentenced to life imprisonment for spying for Pakistan ISI snt
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First Published Jun 3, 2024, 3:00 PM IST

In a significant development, a Nagpur court on Monday sentenced former Brahmos Aerospace engineer Nishant Agarwal to life imprisonment for espionage on behalf of Pakistan's ISI. Agarwal, apprehended in 2018, was accused of divulging classified information about the Brahmos missile to Pakistan's intelligence agency. He held a senior position as a system engineer at Brahmos Aerospace, a collaborative effort between DRDO and Russia’s NPO Mashinostroyenia, focused on India’s supersonic cruise missile technology, deployable via land, air, sea, and underwater platforms.

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In the order, Additional Sessions Court Judge MV Deshpande pronounced Agarwal guilty under Section 235 of the Criminal Procedure Code for violating Section 66(f) of the IT Act and several sections of the Official Secrets Act (OSA).

"The court sentenced Agarwal to life imprisonment and RI for 14 years under the Official Secrets Act and fined him Rs 3,000," said Special Public Prosecutor Jyoti Vajani.

It's worth noting that Agarwal was granted bail by the Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court last April.

The 2018 case marked a watershed moment as the first espionage scandal to affect Brahmos Aerospace. Agarwal had reportedly communicated with suspected Pakistani intelligence operatives through two Facebook profiles—Neha Sharma and Pooja Ranjan—believed to be operated from Islamabad by Pakistan's intelligence agents.

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Nishant Agarwal, a recipient of the Young Scientists award from the Defence Research and Development Organisation, deeply surprised his peers with his involvement in such activities.

Regarded as a talented engineer, Agarwal was educated at the National Institute of Technology, Kurukshetra. However, investigators noted that despite his involvement in highly sensitive work, Agarwal's lax attitude on the internet made him vulnerable and easily targeted.

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