NIA arrests key accused in Navy espionage case


The National Investigation Agency (NIA) achieved an- other breakthrough and arrested a key accused in the Visakhapatnam naval espionage case. The accused, Giteli Imran, has been allegedly involved in the case and was found to be working for the Pakistani spy agency, ISI.

Imran belongs to Gujarat’s Godhra and was arrested in connection with the case under the sections 120B and 121A of IPC, Sec. 17 and 18 of UA(P)Act and Sec.3 of Official Secrets Act of the Indian Penal Code. The NIA said that the investigation has revealed that the accused was associated with Pakistani spies under the guise of cross-border cloth trade. Imran allegedly deposited money into the bank accounts of Indian Navy personnel at regular intervals as per the directions of Pakistan-based spies.

The case relates to an inter- national espionage racket in which Pakistan-based spies recruited agents in India for collecting sensitive and classified information regarding the locations and movements of Indian naval ships and sub- marines and other defence establishments. Investigation also revealed that a few navy personnel came in contact with Pakistani agents through social media platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp. Some digital devices and incriminating documents have also been seized in the search conducted at Imran’s house.

14 individuals have already been arrested in this case. A chargesheet had been filed on 15.06.2020 against the 14 accused.Besides money, the case also involved honey traps. As per sources, Navy officials were approached by women on Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram and other social media platforms, who then lured them to get sensitive information about the Indian Navy.

Previously, the NIA had searched for the accused in Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat and had them
arrested. Many Navy officials were also arrested and produced before the Vijayawada NIA court. On 20th December 2019, seven naval officials, including three from the Eastern Naval Command, three from Western Naval Command and one from Karwar, had been taken into custody on charges of spying for Pakistan. This also prompted the government to issue an advisory to military and paramilitary personnel to stop using social networking platforms.