'Sanghi' scientist caught spying for Pakistan sent to ATS custody till May 15
Dr. Pradeep Kurulkar, accused of leaking sensitive secret defence information to Pakistani intelligence, is found to have deleted data from his mobile phone, laptop and pen drive
Once regarded as an outstanding defence Scientist who gave lectures on nationalism to the youth and country, arrested Research and Development Establishment (Engineers) Director of the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO), Dr. Pradeep Kurulkar, is now facing charges of alleged anti-national activities.
The senior scientist is accused of sending sensitive secret defence information to Pakistani intelligence across the border over WhatsApp, audio messages and video calls. A self-confessed Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh (RSS) member, Dr. Kurulkar's Facebook interview with close friends, where he openly admits to his Sangh linkage, has gone viral on social media.
In the Facebook interview Dr. Kurulkar tells his interviewers, "This is our fourth generation in RSS and my son regularly participates in Sangh activities. My grandfather was associated with the RSS, and later my father. A Sangh shakha is close to my house, and I was introduced to the organisation by Suku Srinivasan, who held my hand and took me to Modibaug.”
Following Tuesday's expiry of his first remand, Dr. Kurulkar was produced before the District Court.
Special Judge S R Navandar extending the police custody of Dr. Kurulkar till May 15, said, “During the past three to four days, various witnesses were examined, and new facts have come to light. The investigating officer needs to investigate data in the pen drive and the forensic data. It seems some data was deleted, and the same data needs to be examined. The allegations against the accused are serious in nature, including sharing images and data with foreign nationals."
Judge Navandar observed that the position the accused held was sensitive in nature. "The activity is said to be anti-national and detrimental, more particularly to the security of the nation, wherein thorough investigation is needed. Custodial interrogation is unavoidable at this stage,” the judge said in an orally dictation to his staff.
In its before the judge, the Maharashtra ATS said that the remand application presented before the court had details about what activities the accused had indulged in. “The ATS had sent electronic equipment seized from Dr. Kurulkar for forensic examination, and its report has come. He met many women in the DRDO guest house, which had to be investigated," the investigating agency said.
ATS investigation has found that he has travelled abroad to five or six countries on a government passport. Dr. Kurulkar's bank accounts are being scrutinised to determine whether he received any money in those accounts.
Dr. Kurulkar had deleted data from his mobile phone, laptop and pen drive". What we exactly need to ascertain is whether this information was shared with Pakistani Intelligence. He has been found communicating via Gmail, and the IP address has been traced to Pakistan,” the ATS told the court.
The ATS on Thursday had arrested Dr. Kurulkar over a vigilance department (DRDO) complaint that he was in touch with a woman (Pakistani Intelligence Operative) through Whatsapp chat, audio messages and video calling and had allegedly shared sensitive security and defence related information with her. Till his arrest Dr. Kurulkar had been officiating as the head of the Research and Development Establishment (Engineers) under the DRDRO.
The Research and Development Establishment (Engineers) official website describes Dr. Kurulkar as an outstanding scientist. Born in 1963, Dr. Kurulkar joined DRDO at CVRDE, Avadi, in 1988 after completing his Bachelor’s degree (BE) in Electrical Engineering from COEP Pune in 1985 in first class with Distinction. He further completed his advanced courses in Power Electronics from IIT Kanpur with specialization in Drives and application.
Dr. Kurulkar's area of specialisation has been Design and Development of Missile Launchers, Military Engineering Equipment, Advanced Robotics and Mobile Unmanned Systems for Military Applications.
As Project Leader and system manager for Akash Ground Systems, he has been a key member of Akash team and has played a major role in the design, development and production of Akash Launchers and mission-critical Ground Systems.
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