New Delhi: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has apprehended another individual in connection with the Visakhapatnam espionage case, which involves the unauthorized disclosure of classified defense information through a Pakistani ISI spying network. Amaan Salim Shaikh was taken into custody in Mumbai following NIA raids at two locations in Mumbai, Maharashtra, and others in Hojai and Nagaon districts in Assam.
With Shaikh’s arrest, the total number of accused in custody now stands at three. The NIA has already charged a total of four individuals, including two Pakistani operatives who are currently evading arrest.
Shaikh’s involvement was traced to the activation of SIM cards used by Pakistani Intelligence Officers implicated in the espionage network, initially uncovered in 2021 when the Counter Intelligence Cell in Andhra Pradesh initiated the case on January 12, 2021. The NIA took over the investigation in June of the same year.
During today’s operations, NIA teams seized two mobile phones from the location where Shaikh was apprehended. Additionally, two more mobile phones and a trove of sensitive documents were confiscated from other locations targeted by the NIA.
On July 19 this year, the NIA filed a chargesheet against two individuals, including an absconding Pakistani national identified as Meer Balaj Khan. Investigations revealed that Meer Balaj Khan and an arrested accomplice, Akash Solanki, constituted an espionage module procuring and leaking sensitive information concerning the Indian Navy to handlers based in Pakistan.
In a recent development on November 6, the NIA filed a supplementary chargesheet against two other individuals, Manmohan Surendra Panda and Alven. While Panda is currently in custody, Alven, a Pakistani Intelligence Operative, remains at large in Pakistan, according to NIA sources.
The agency stated, “Investigations are ongoing in the case, and the custodial interrogation of Amaan is expected to yield more leads in the conspiracy related to attempts by foreign-based elements to obtain sensitive and classified information concerning defense establishments across the country.”