Odisha: Photographer gets lifer for spying at ITR Chandipur

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Balasore (Odisha), Feb 11 (PTI) An Odisha court on Thursday sentenced a photographer to lifetime imprisonment for spying at the Integrated Test Range at Chandipur in Balasore district.

Additional District Court (1) Judge Girija Prasad Mohapatra held Iswar Chandra Behera, a photographer engaged at DRDO laboratory at ITR on a contractual basis, guilty of conspiracy and sharing vital information with Pakistan's ISI among various foreign intelligence agencies.

The court also slapped a fine of Rs 10,000 on the convict.

As per the prosecution, Behera was tracked and arrested by intelligence agencies for leaking vital information and a police case was registered against him, which was later transferred to the crime branch.

He was convicted under sections 121 A (sedition) and 120 B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code, and 3, 4 and 5 of the Official Secrets Act, a government counsel said.

The police confirmed that money was credited into Behera's bank account from various countries, he said.

Behera, who hails from Kantipur village in Mayurbhanj district, was employed as a photographer at the ITR on a contractual basis since 2007 at a monthly remuneration of Rs 8,000. He was working in the CCTV section of the ITR's control tower.

The prosecution said that Behera was spying for Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) for 8-10 months prior to his arrest.

He was in constant touch with his handler over the phone and had met him at least 10 times during his trips to Kolkata, a police official had said.

The prosecution said that Behera would take videos of the missile testing sites and later leave for Kolkata on the pretext of repairing his camera.

He also ensured his presence during the test-firing of missiles and the testing of cluster bombs by the DRDO and other agencies.

Behera also had prior information about the dates of missile testing and the types of missiles to be tested.

Police said that Behera used to hand over the videos and other vital information to the ISI agent at Kolkata.

The convict was under police surveillance long before his arrest.

Police had seized a computer, cell phone, hard disk, bank passbook and pen-drive from his house. PTI COR AAM ACD ACD