September 16, 2020 6:03:33 am
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday night arrested a key accused in the Visakhapatnam espionage case from the Polan Bazaar area of Godhra town in Panchmahals district of Gujarat, for his alleged links with the Pakistani spy agency ISI. The accused, Imran Giteli (37), a cloth merchant, was picked up from his home with the help of local police.
A statement from the NIA stated, “Investigation has revealed that arrested accused Giteli Imran was associated with Pakistani spies and agents under the guise of cross-border cloth trade. As per the directions of Pakistan-based spies, he deposited money into the bank accounts of Indian Navy personnel at regular intervals in lieu of sensitive and classified data provided by them.”
The release further stated that the case, registered under sections of the Indian Penal Code, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the Official Secrets Act, relates to an international espionage racket in which Pakistan-based spies recruited agents in India for collecting sensitive and classified information regarding locations or movements of Indian naval ships and submarines, and other Defence establishments.
The NIA has also seized digital devices and incriminating documents during the search conducted at the house of Giteli, the release said.
According to the investigators, Giteli used to source garments from Pakistan and sell them in Godhra, particularly. “He also used to drive an auto rickshaw in Godhra and was involved in gambling locally,” a police officer from Godhra said.
Giteli’s family in Godhra, comprising his parents, wife and four children are unaware about his links with the ISI, the police officer claimed.
The officer added, “It was NIA’s operation and the local police provided them the support they needed. Giteli had been under watch for his other anti-social activities like gambling. He is known to have much influence back in Pakistan because his extended family lives there and he has business connections as well. Many people from the town, who have families stranded across the border, are known to approach him for help and he would get their work done.”
Investigation carried out by the central agency had revealed that a few Navy personnel came in contact with Pakistani agents through social media platforms. They shared classified information for which money was deposited into their bank accounts through ISI’s Indian associates who had business interests in Pakistan, NIA has said in its release.
The release further said that the NIA officials are investigating the alleged link of Giteli in routing money into the accounts of Defence personnel, who had passed on sensitive information to Pakistan. The central agency had already filed a chargesheet against 14 accused in June this year in connection with the case.
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