BrahMos engineer accused of spying for Pakistan’s ISI granted bail by Bombay High Court – The Indian Express

The Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court recently granted bail to Nishant Aggarwal, a former engineer of BrahMos Aerospace Pvt Ltd, who was arrested in 2018 for allegedly spying for Pakistan Intelligence agency ISI. The court observed that “prima facie there is no material to suggest that the alleged act was committed by the applicant with intention, and to secure the presence of the applicant at the trial, certain stringent conditions can be imposed.”
Aggarwal, a senior systems engineer with BrahMos Aerospace, was arrested at the age of 27 in October 2018 on espionage charges in a joint operation carried out by the Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) and Military Intelligence (MI). BrahMos Aerospace is responsible for designing, developing, and marketing supersonic cruise missile BrahMos, a joint venture between India’s Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) and Russia’s Military Industrial Consortium, NPO Mashinostroyenia.
The agencies were investigating whether Aggarwal leaked sensitive data pertaining to the BrahMos to his ‘handler,’ who was suspected to be from Pakistan. He was booked under various stringent provisions of the Official Secrets Act (OSA), 1923, and the Indian Penal Code.
As per the prosecution, it was a case of honey trap and cyber activities by allurement to trap officers in illegal espionage activity. During the course of this probe, the ATS came across two more Facebook accounts that had women on their profile pictures and were seen to be in touch with Aggarwal.
Senior advocate S V Manohar and advocate Devendra V Chauhan, representing Aggarwal, argued that “it is not a case of the prosecution that there is a danger to the security and safety of the state if the applicant is released on bail. It is also not a case of the prosecution that the commission of the alleged act was with a specific intention.”
The court noted that most of the witnesses were not turning up for giving evidence and only six witnesses had been examined so far, and eleven more are yet to be examined as per the prosecution. It further noted that in the trial, which is taking place in Maharashtra, every hearing has been adjourned by a month as the witnesses are from Uttar Pradesh.
Granting bail to Aggarwal, the judge held that he was entitled to bail as the trial would not commence in the near future, and prima facie there was no material to show that the accused intentionally indulged in the alleged act. “To secure his presence, certain stringent conditions can be imposed,” the judge added.

Omkar Gokhale read more


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