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US court won't release NRI engineer

India-born Noshir Gowadia has been accused of selling US military secrets.

india Updated: Nov 11, 2005 16:42 IST

A US judge has denied a motion to allow release on bail of an India-born engineer accused of selling US military secrets to foreign governments.

The judge decided on Thursday that Noshir Gowadia was a flight risk because of the highly classified knowledge he possesses -- he helped design the system that protects the B-2 stealth bomber from enemy heat-seeking missiles.

A naturalised US citizen born in India, Gowadia was arrested on October 26. He has pleaded innocent to the charges contained in the six-count indictment. Each of the six counts carries a possible maximum punishment of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The suspect's attorney, Chris Todd, argued before US District Judge Helen Gillmor that his client suffers from a blood disorder that requires him to sometimes sleep uninterrupted for 12 hours which "he's not getting that sleep in the (federal) detention center," Todd said.

Todd said that with both of Gowadia's children, his wife and all three of his siblings living in the US, Gowadia is unlikely to flee to another country. He also has no prior criminal record. Todd offered strict conditions for Gowadia's proposed release, including limiting his communication from his Maui home to outgoing calls on a landline telephone, installing global positioning systems on his two cars and requiring authorities' approval of any visitors. However, prosecutors said on Thursday that the case was too sensitive to release Gowadia from custody.

None of the three foreign governments to which Gowadia allegedly sold military secrets have been publicly identified. Gowadia's trial is set for January 10.

First Published: Nov 11, 2005 13:06 IST