A senior scientist working for the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in Mumbai has been arrested by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) for allegedly sharing classified information with a Pakistani agent. The accused, Pradeep Kurulkar, aged 60, was the Director of the Research & Development Establishment (Engineers) in Pune, which is an important facility of the DRDO. Kurulkar was involved in several crucial projects, including missile development. He was described as an “outstanding scientist” on the DRDO website, where he was listed as the project leader and systems manager for Akash Ground Systems.
Kurulkar was accused of engaging with an agent of a “Pakistan Intelligence Operative” through WhatsApp and video calls and falling victim to a honeytrap. The investigation against him was initiated based on a complaint by the DRDO. He was taken into custody on Wednesday, and a case has been filed against him under the relevant sections of the Official Secrets Act by the Kalachowki unit of the ATS in Mumbai.
According to an ATS officer quoted by The Indian Express, “This primarily seems to be a case of honeytrap, in which the senior scientist has come into contact with Pakistan-based intelligence operatives.” The officer stated that Kurulkar was lured using photos of women on social media platforms. “He had been in contact with the Pakistani operatives using voice messages and video calls from September-October last year and is suspected to have shared sensitive information with them,” the officer further added.
The ATS press release stated that despite knowing that the official secrets in his possession, if obtained by the enemy country, could pose a threat to the country’s security, Kurulkar “provided the details to the enemy country.” Kurulkar was due to retire in November.
This incident highlights the dangers of honeytrap tactics employed by intelligence operatives to lure individuals into sharing sensitive information. It is a wake-up call for the security establishment to be more vigilant and proactive in identifying such threats and taking necessary precautions to safeguard national security. The investigation into this case is ongoing, and further details are awaited.