BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, Indian Navy, defence,
India's Brahmos supersonic cruise missiles, mounted on a truck. [Representational image]Reuters

Nishant Agarwal, who was arrested yesterday on charges of sending sensitive information relating to the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile to Pakistan's spy agency Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) was a brilliant engineer who despite being in his mid-20s was heading the Hydraulics-Pneumatics and Warhead Integration wing of BrahMos' production department and led a team of 40 personnel.

Here are the facts of the case.

  • Nishant had won government's 'Young Scientist Award' for 2017-18.
  • He was a senior systems engineer at BrahMos Aerospace's unit at Butibori, near Nagpur.
  • Nishant was also supervising upcoming projects related to BrahMos missile at Nagpur and Pilani.
  • He was arrested in a joint operation by the anti-terror squads of Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra police and sleuths from Military Intelligence.
  • Two of Nishant's colleagues, a Kanpur woman and an Agra man are suspected of helping him pass classified information to ISI.
  • Nishant used a 'coded game' to send sensitive information to ISI. Efforts are on to crack the code and decipher the messages.
  • Cops seized Nishant's personal laptop which carried sensitive information about the BrahMos project, which is violation of Official Secrets Act. A probe is on to find out how he stored information on his laptop.
  • Nishant's name surfaced during the interrogation of BSF jawan Achyutanand Mishra, who was arrested from Noida after he was honey-trapped by ISI.
  • After Mishra's interrogation, cops scanned profiles of other women on Facebook and found that a woman impersonated herself as an employee of a US company and befriended Nishant in 2016. She lured him to work for her and offered a handsome salary. Later, it was found out that the profile belonged to a Pakistani woman.
  • Cops swooped down on Nishant's rented accommodation in Nagpur at around 5am on Monday and interrogated him till afternoon after which he was arrested under the Official Secrets Act.
  • Other employees working at the BrahMos unit have also been questioned.