The Nashik Unit of the Maharashtra Police’s Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) has arrested Dipak Shirsath, 41, an employee of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) on charges of leaking sensitive classified information pertaining to Indian fighter jets and their manufacturing unit to a foreigner.
The Maharashtra ATS said that its Nashik Unit generated a reliable piece of intelligence that one person was supplying secret information about Indian fighter aircraft and their manufacturing Unit — Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL), Nashik to a foreigner.
The information was worked out and the accused, an employee of HAL, has been arrested by ATS from Nashik. Through sustained interrogation of the accused, it was revealed that he was in constant touch with Pakistani intelligence agency, the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI).
“He was supplying secret information about Indian fighter aircrafts and their sensitive details, along with the information related to HAL, the aircraft manufacturing Unit at Ozar, Nashik, the airbase and the prohibited areas inside the manufacturing Unit to the ISI,” officials said.
An offence under Sections 3, 4 and 5 of the Official Secrets Act, 1923 has been registered against the accused and three mobile handsets with five SIM cards and two memory cards have been seized from his person.
The same are being sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) for examination. On Friday a Competent Court remanded the accused to ten days’ police custody.
The Aircraft Manufacturing Division, Nasik of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited was established in 1964 for licenced manufacturing of MiG-21FL aircraft and K-13 Missiles. The division has since then manufactured other MiG variants — MiG-21M, MiG-21 BIS, MiG-27 M and the state-of-the-art Su-30 MKI. Along with manufacturing, the division also carries out overhaul of the MiG series aircraft and started repair and over-haul (ROH) of Su-30 MKI.
“As the investigations are on, we have no comments to offer,” an HAL spokesperson said.
It may be recalled that just last week, the local police in Nashik had arrested one Sanjeev Kumar clicking photographs. He was accosted on a complaint of the military guards in Deolali Camp where photography and videography is prohibited. It was later revealed that Kumar was sending the photographs to a Pakistan-based WhatsApp group.
The operation to investigate and nab the accused was carried out and accomplished under the guidance of Deven Bharti, Additional Director General of Police, ATS, DIG Jayant Naiknavre, Ravindrasingh Pardeshi and DCP Dr. Vinaykumar Rathod SP by ACP Sunil Yadav, PI Mahadev Waghmode, APIs Sandip Ghuge, Pratima Joglekar, Ekshinge, PSI Sanap and Head Constables Sampat Jadhav, Pramod Ubale, Govind Jadhav, Sanjay Bhusal, Vilas Wagh, Dipak Raut and Sudam Sangle.