On Monday, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) carried out the third arrest in the Visakhapatnam espionage case, which came to light in January 2021. The case involves four accused persons who allegedly leaked Indian Navy information to Pakistani sources. The third arrest occurred in Mumbai, where the NIA successfully took Amaan Salim Shaikh into custody after raiding two locations.
For the unversed, this espionage case first saw light in January 2019 when the Counter Intelligence Cell of Andhra Pradesh learnt about the conspiracy. It registered cases under IPC sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 121A (conspiring to commit offences against the state), sections 17 and 18 of the Unlawful Activities Act of 1967, and section 3 of the Official Secret Act of 1923.
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In June 2023, the NIA took over the case from the Counter Intelligence Cell and filed chargesheets against Meer Balaj Khan, a Pakistan national, and Akash Solanki in July. After an investigation, the investigation agency found that Khan and Solanki were leaking important defence information to Pakistani sources, and the former is absconding.
Further, on 6 November, the NIA filed chargesheets against two others, Manmohan Surendra and Alven, in the same case. While Surendra was arrested, Alven of Pakistan was absconding. The NIA will interrogate Amaan Salik Shaik to obtain more information linked to the Visakhapatnam espionage case while also searching for the two absconding Pakistan individuals.
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