Ramakanta Biswas

The Crime Branch of Odisha police is going to investigate the case pertaining to the arrest of four contractual employees of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)’s Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur in Balasore district on espionage charges. 

According to sources, a four-member team of the Crime Branch will probe the case following the direction of Director General of Police (DGP) Abhay. Additional SP Prasant Kumar Bisoyi will head the team. The team has left for Balasore to take charge of the investigation.

“As per the order of @DGPOdisha, Crime Branch will take over investigation of Chandipur PS Case No. 76/2021. A four member probing team headed by Addl SP Prasant Ku. Bisoyi is heading to @SPBalasore to take charge of investigation,” Odisha Crime Branch tweeted. 

Earlier in the day, the four accused- Basanta Behera (52) of Jhampura, Hemanta Kumar Mistri (52) of Buanal, Tapas Ranjan Nayak (41) of Palisa and Sk Musafir (32) of Srikona were produced before the court of Sub-divisional judicial magistrate (SDJM), Balasore. 

As per the sources, Behera was a contractual AC operator at ITR Chandipur while Mistri worked as a contractual DG operator, Nayak as contractual employee at ITR main gate while Musafir was a contractual AC operator. 

As per intelligence reports, the four accused wrongfully and wilfully communicated classified defence secrets to foreign agents, appearing to be Pakistani agents. They were contacted from various ISD phone numbers. They were getting wrongful monetary benefits from them in lieu of the information, the police said.

They have been arrested for committing offence of causing serious harm to the security, sovereignty and integrity of our nation, the police said. 

According to police sources, the arrested accused were honey-trapped.

Earlier, a similar case in Balasore district was registered in Chandipur police station and investigated by the Crime Branch, Odisha that resulted in the conviction of the accused.

On February 11, 2021, Ishwar Chandra Behera, who was engaged as a cameraman at the Integrated Test Range (ITR) in Chandipur was sentenced to life imprisonment for spying for Pakistani intelligence agency ISI. He was arrested in February 2015 on charges of sharing secret data to Pakistan.