DRDO photographer sentenced to life for espionage, likened to a terrorist
- It was found that Behera would go close to the missile testing sites, take videos, and later leave for Kolkata to meet his handler, an ISI agent.
A contractual videographer for Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has been sentenced to life by an Odisha court for sharing sensitive photographs of DRDO’s integrated missile test range in Chandipur with Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI. The judge likened the convict’s act to that of terrorism.
41-year-old Ishwar Behera, worked as a contractual videographer at the CCTV station of DRDO's missile test range facility at Chandipur. He was convicted under Sections 121A (espionage) and 120B of the IPC and 3, 4 and 5 of the Official Secrets Act and sentenced to life by the court of additional sessions judge Girija Prasad Mohapatra.
"The terrorist groups collect information from people of India like the present convict by providing them money. A group of these people of India are regularly supplying information to the enemies. People like Behera, (who) are putting the safety and security of the Union of India in the hands of the terrorists, are also terrorists. They are the active participants against the sovereignty of India. Whoever goes against the sovereignty of India would put India and its citizens in dangerous situations. They are required to be punished with utmost severity," judge Mohapatra said in his order. He said terror attacks carried out by Pakistan-based militants could happen in India because people like Behera provided them with information.
During investigation it was found that Behera would go close to the missile testing sites, take videos, and later leave for Kolkata on the pretext of getting his camera repaired. In Kolkata, he used to hand over the videos and other sensitive information to ISI agents. Ishwar was in touch with his handler over the phone and met him at least 10 times, the prosecution had claimed during the trial.
It was also found that money had been transferred to his account from Abu Dhabi, Mumbai, Meerut, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar among others. He was under surveillance by the Intelligence Bureau (IB) before his arrest.