HAL employee arrested for supplying aircraft details to ISI; FIR registered under Official Secrets Act

Mumbai: A Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) employee has been arrested for supplying Indian fighter aircraft details to Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, Maharashtra police said on Friday.

Police said 41-year-old Deepak Shirsat was working as an assistant supervisor at HAL and was "honey trapped" by a Pakistani national posing as a woman on social media.

The Nashik unit of the state Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) had received reliable intelligence about the man, who was in constant touch with ISI, a police statement said.

The man was supplying the secret information about Indian fighter aircraft and their sensitive details, along with the information related to HAL's aircraft manufacturing unit at Ojhar near Nashik, airbase and prohibited area inside the manufacturing unit, the statement said.

An offence under the Official Secrets Act has been registered against Shirsat, an official said, adding Nashik ATS unit arrested him from his house in Nashik.

Three mobile handsets along with five SIM cards and two memory cards have been seized from him, he said. The phones and SIM cards were sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory for examination, he added.

The accused was produced before court on Friday, and was remanded in ATS custody for 10 days, he said.

Investigation so far has revealed that Shirsat was honey trapped by a Pakistani national, probably an ISI handler, who chatted with him posing as a woman, ATS DCP Vinay Rathod told PTI.

The Pakistani national told Shirsat that he likes aircraft, after which the HAL employee started sharing sensitive information about India's fighter aircraft with him on WhatsApp and other social media platforms, Rathod said.

HAL's Aircraft Division Nashik, established in 1964 for licence manufacture of MiG-21FL aircraft and K-13 missiles, is located at Ojhar, 24 km from Nashik and around 200 km from Mumbai.

The division has also manufactured other MiG variants like MiG-21M, MiG-21 BIS, MiG-27 M and the state-of-the-art Su-30 MKI fighter jet. The division also carries out overhaul of the MiG series aircraft and Repair and Overhaul (ROH) of Su-30 MKI aircraft.



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