HAL Staffer Caught Leaking Sensitive Fighter Jet Info To Pakistan

Indian Air Force's Sukhoi 30 fighter jets - Aviatorsbuzz
File photo of Indian Air Force's Sukhoi 30 fighter jets. Source: NDTV

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.

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Deputy Editor, AviatorsBuzz Aditya Anand in his nearly two decades of Journalism experience has tracked Aviation, Travel, and Hospitality closely and reported on it for major publications like The Hindu, Mumbai Mirror, and MIDDAY.