Court reserves order on Behera’s bail plea

Balasore: The District and Sessions court here today reserved its verdict on the bail plea of Ishwar Chandra Behera, the contractual videographer of Integrated Test Range (ITR) who was arrested on charges of passing secret information to an ISI agent in Kolkata, till tomorrow after completing its hearing.

Behera’s counsel argued in the court that the Crime Branch has failed to submit a chargesheet against Behera even after 120 days of his arrest. Besides, the defence lawyer said, there is no base to the allegations leveled against Behera.

On the other hand, the government counsel opposed the bail plea while mentioning about the instance of money transfer to Behera’s bank accounts from abroad and passing secret defence-related information to the ISI agent.

On January 23 this year, Behera, a native of Kantipur village in Baisinga block of Mayurbhanj district, was arrested for allegedly supplying confidential information on various missiles test-fired by DRDO from Wheeler Island to his ISI conduit in Kolkata. A hard disk, two mobile phones and a bank passbook were seized from his possession at the time of arrest.

Though Behera initially denied his links with ISI, he later confessed that he came in contact with the ISI operative in Kolkata during a visit. He had told the police that he then visited Kolkata very often to meet the ISI point man in the pretext of getting his cameras repaired there. He was believed to have met the ISI man around 10 times so far.

Behera used to get money from ISI through net-banking routed via Abu Dhabi, Mumbai, Meerut, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh. Behera had received Rs 50,000 in his account in six installments from the ISI agent in lieu of his services.

Acting on IB inputs, police had kept strict vigil on Behera’s activities. He was tracked for eight months and was caught with evidence that he was keeping secret contact with the ISI agent in Kolkata.

A case had been registered against him in Chandipur police station and he has been charged under Sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 121-A (treason) of IPC.