Female Pakistani operative manages to extract Indian state secrets

PUNE: A female Pakistani operative managed to convince an Indian scientist to reveal state secrets, landing the scientist in big trouble.

The Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad (ATS) stated that Pradeep Kurulkar of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) who was arrested on May 3 for espionage, allegedly disclosed critical information about India’s missile, drone, and robotics programs to a female intelligence operative based in Pakistan.

According to the Hindustan Times, the charge sheet submitted to a court on June 30 has revealed “explosive” chats between the scientist and the Pakistani operative between September 2022 and February 2023. Kurulkar was a research and development director at DRDO when he shared this information with the woman “in order to establish intimate relations with her”.

The Pakistani agent created various fake accounts to engage Kurulkar. Two of their names were Zara Dasgupta and Juhi Arora.

In messages with ‘Zara Dasgupta’, Kurulkar openly spoke about the DRDO’s Meteor and Brahmos missiles, as well as the Rafael, Akash and Astra missile systems. He also revealed information about the Agni-6 missile launcher. All these projects are under development at DRDO.

Additionally, he disclosed details about DRDO’s ongoing development of the Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle, the Bharat Quadcopter, and Rustom, an unmanned combat air vehicle under development.

According to the 1,837-page charge sheet, Kurulkar liked to brag about his work. In one of the attached chats the operative asked him whether the Agni-6 launcher test has been successful, to which he responded, “the launcher is my design babe…it was a great success.”

The Pakistani agent, according to the charge sheet, shared three email addresses with Kurulkar, which included handles such as ‘dreamgirl56′ and ’26sweetpanda’. She then shared the passwords for the emails addresses and insisted that he download two apps on his mobile, which he did.

A forensic analysis revealed malware on Kurulkar’s phone, likely installed with the app downloads, ATS confirmed.

Kurulkar is lodged in Pune’s Yerwada jail after he was arrested by ATS on May 3 on charges of espionage and wrongful communication with an operative from a neighbouring country. ATS has so far examined 203 witnesses as part of its investigation.

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