Indian defence research scientist arrested for giving information to Pakistani female spy

A scientist working in a laboratory of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), which is under the Ministry of Defence, India, has been arrested and remanded to custody till May 9 for allegedly sharing highly sensitive Indian defence information with a female Pakistani spy.

Pradeep Kurulkar was arrested in Maharashtra after DRDO vigilance in Delhi raised an alarm over his activities. Photo courtesy: Facebook/Indian Defence Updates

The scientist, identified as Pradeep Kurulkar, 59, is believed to have fallen for what is termed the “honey trap” tactic in espionage — an attractive woman seduces a man to acquire some classified information. In this case, the information was given to an intelligence agent of a hostile nation from which DRDO is supposed to protect India by developing military technology.

Kurulkar, who was based at a DRDO lab in Pune, Maharashtra, was arrested by the Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad (ATS), which now has him in custody, following an order from the court of special judge SR Navander.

He faces the charges of spying and sharing security-sensitive information with a woman who is suspected Pakistani intelligence agent. The charges against him are related to Sections 3 (spying) and 5 (wrongful communication of information) of the Official Secrets Act.

According to an ATS statement yesterday, the DRDO scientist talked to the Pakistani spy on WhatsApp, through voice messages and video calls. The Indian scientist had allegedly given the Pakistani spy the photo of a missile and even revealed its location. He also gave her some of his own photos that she later used to blackmail him.

He fell into the Maharashtra ATS net when a complaint against him came from the DRDO vigilance and security office in Delhi. As per media reports, the scientist’s laptop and cell phones were seized following the complaint, and they confirmed the honey trap and the information sharing. He was removed from his post; later, he was arrested.

As to how the scientist met the spy in the first place, it was reported that Pakistani intelligence got the spy to pose as an engineering student from India who contacted the scientist out of apparent academic interest. This first acquaintance led to the honey trap.