A ‘mysterious’ woman was in touch with all the five accused in the espionage case at DRDO’s Integrated Test Range (ITR) in Odisha’s Balasore district using aliases and even gave marriage proposals to two of them, a senior police officer said on Saturday.
The five ITR employees’ seven-day Odisha Police Crime Branch remand ended on Saturday, and they will now be sent to judicial custody. They were arrested on September 14 and 16 for allegedly passing on vital information to a Pakistani spy in lieu of money.
Additional Director General of Police (ADGP), Crime Branch, Sanjeeb Panda said the woman, who falsely claimed that she was from Balasore, spoke to the five accused, unbeknown to each other, using a United Kingdom-based SIM card and stayed connected with them using seven Facebook accounts under different names, besides WhatsApp.
“She frequently video-called two of the accused, and even gave marriage proposals to them. The woman, who is yet to be identified, had also extended an invitation to one of them come to ‘her residence’ in Chandipur,” he said on the alleged honey-trap angle to the espionage case.
The senior police officer said that the Crime Branch was further inquiring the details of the UK phone number and the bank account in Dubai, from where one of the accused had received a cash transfer of around Rs 38,000 in two installments.
“We are also probing the possibility of the accused getting money from other sources. Things would become clear after the woman’s identity is ascertained,” the ADG said.
India test-fires its rockets, missiles and other air-borne weapon systems from ITR, a facility of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in Chandipur.
Meanwhile, a team of Indian Air Force officials from West Bengal also interrogated the accused during their remand period in Cuttack. Earlier, a team of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) had also reached Balasore and discussed the matter with some security personnel at ITR, but refrained from questioning the accused. PTI