Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday called upon Indian defence manufacturers to create a culture of quality in production, terming it as a prerequisite to compete in the international market.
Senior scientist Pradeep Kurulkar of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) who was arrested for allegedly sharing confidential information with a Pakistani intelligence agent was in contact with her since 2022, according to sources from the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS)
Pradeep M Kurulkar who had been honey-trapped by the woman agent was arrested under the Official Secrets Act by the Maharashtra ATS, following which a court there remanded him in the ATS custody till May 9. Sources said, “Kurulkar had been communicating with the agent via WhatsApp voice messages and video calls since September 2022.”
“ATS has seized several electronic devices like mobile phones, laptops etc from Kurulkar and has been sent for forensic detailing. Kurulkar had deleted some of the WhatsApp chats with the PIO girl,” the sources added.
Further probe is being done by the ATS Pune team.
“The scientist had been removed as the Laboratory Director after our probe found that he was found indulging in leaking sensitive information,” a senior DRDO official told ANI.
“The agency had launched a probe against Purulkar after receiving inputs from other agencies about his activities online,” he added.
“He had been attached to some office and we had already taken action against him,” the official added.
Officials said the agency is still carrying out an investigation into the issue and also sensitising its officials against indulging in any such activities on social media.
Kurulkar was an ‘Outstanding Scientist’ (equivalent to Lieutenant General in Army) while heading the Research & Development Establishment (Engineers) laboratory in Pune as its director.
Responding to the development, Maharashtra ATS said the scientist was found to have had contact with the operatives of Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI through social media via WhatsApp messages, voice calls, and video.
The ATS said despite holding a responsible position, the scientist allegedly misused his post, thereby compromising on sensitive government secrets, which could pose a threat to national security if it falls into the hands of the enemy nation.
A case has been filed against the scientist under Section 1923 of the Official Secrets Act 1923 and other relevant sections.