DRDO engineer held for leaking information on India's missile program
An engineer with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) was arrested on Friday on charges of leaking sensitive information on India's missile development program. The Telangana Police said the accused engineer—who works at DRDO's Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) in Hyderabad—reportedly shared the information with a suspected "Pakistani spy" who disguised themselves as a woman working for a UK-based defense publication.
Accused was working as Quality Assurance Engineer for DRDL
Officials have told The Indian Express that the accused has been identified as 29-year-old Dukka Mallikarjuna Reddy, a native of Visakhapatnam. He was employed as a contractual Quality Assurance Engineer for the DRDL's Advance Naval System Programme at the Research Centre Imarat (RCI) in Balapur in 2020, they added. Earlier, he worked with a private company for two years on a DRDL project.
Reddy has been booked with criminal breach of trust
According to an official, Reddy was apprehended at his Meerpet apartment during a joint operation by Rachakonda and Balapur Police departments. He was charged with a criminal breach of trust under Section 409 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and several provisions of the Official Secrets Act of 1923. Meanwhile, authorities seized two phones, a SIM card, and a laptop from his possession.
Accused fell victim to a honeytrap: Police
Initial investigations revealed that the accused had been in contact with alleged ISI handler Natasha Rao, alias Simran Chopra aka Omisha Addii, for about two years. He later shared some critical information with her after falling for a honeytrap, the police said. He allegedly provided images and papers related to missile development programs at RCI with the suspected spy on Facebook, they said.
How did Reddy get into the trap?
In March 2020, the accused reportedly accepted Rao's Facebook friend request. She described herself as a UK Defence Journal staffer. Rao introduced herself as a Bengaluru native and the daughter of an Indian Air Force officer and said that she had recently relocated to the UK, cops said. Later, she inquired about Reddy's details. During the conversation, the accused disclosed sensitive information, they added.