ITR espionage: CB gets 4-day remand of Asif Ali

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Balasore: The SDJM court here today allowed the Crime Branch of Odisha Police to take Meerut-based Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agent Asif Ali, an accused in the Naib Subedar Patan Kumar Poddar espionage case, on a four-day remand in connection with Integrated Test Range (ITR) information leak case.

Ali, arrested in August last and currently lodged in Meerut jail, allegedly helped his handlers in Pakistan intelligence to know about India’s sensitive defence establishment information.

The CB after arresting Ishwar Chandra Behera in January this year on charges of sharing vital strategic documents of ITR in Chandipur with suspected ISI agents, had sought the help of Meerut police in Uttar Pradesh to interrogate Ali to get lead in the case.

During interrogation earlier, Ali had confessed to the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Hyderabad police, that he had handed over Rs 3 lakh sent by his handlers in Pakistan intelligence and the amount was deposited in accounts belonging to Indian Army personnel including Poddar.

Since preliminary investigations have revealed that Behera, a contractual videographer at ITR, had received money from Abu Dhabi, Meerut, Mumbai, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh, the CB wants to trace his Meerut link with Ali.

Police sources said Behera was in connection with the suspected ISI agents for more than one year and has received Rs 35,000 in six installments in between December 2013 and December 2014. He had received money orders twice, each of Rs 5,000 from Meerut while four transactions – twice Rs 5,000 and twice Rs 7,500 – were deposited in his Chandipur SBI account through net banking.

Sources added that Behera was sharing defence secrecy and information about the testing of missiles and vital defence installations located in Chandipur and Wheeler’s Island. As he was a videographer, he had close access to all sensitive areas in both the test ranges.

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