A Delhi court today remanded a former IAF official, arrested for allegedly sharing secret information with Pakistan’s ISI, to two more days of police custody to enable the agency to interrogate him in connection with the Pathankot terror attack.
Metropolitan Magistrate Dheeraj Mittal allowed the custodial interrogation of Ranjith KK till January 4 after Delhi Police said that during his earlier questioning, he had made a lot of disclosures and revelations in connection with the Pathankot terror attack.
The dismissed Air Force official allegedly shared secret information with intelligence operatives suspected to be backed by Pakistan’s ISI after being “honeytrapped” into an espionage racket.
Ranjith KK, a Leading aircraft man with the Indian Air Force posted at Bhatinda, was dismissed recently and later arrested after a combined operation by Delhi Police’s Crime Branch, Military Intelligence and Air Force Liaisoning Unit (LU).
He has been booked under provisions of the Official Secrets Act.
The magistrate in its order said, “Accused is produced from police custody. Investigating Officer (IO) moved an application seeking extension of PC remand of the accused for two days. I have gone through the reasons mentioned in the application and heard the submission in this regard. In view of the allegation and the reasons thereof, the application is allowed. PC remand of the accused is extended till January 4.”
During the brief hearing, the magistrate asked the IO whether any recovery or any disclosure has been made by the accused during the earlier four-day remand which ended today.
Crime Branch IO S S Sandhu said that some revelations made by the accused in connection with the Pathankot terror attack and terror espionage needs to be ascertained for which his further interrogation is needed.
The IO further said that some other disclosures were also made and the police is trying to ascertain the facts regarding the espionage racket.
Police had earlier said that in this case, Ranjith was deceived by a cyber entity by the name Damini McNaught, who pretended to be the executive of a UK-based media firm, and claimed that she required Air Force-related information for an article in their news magazine from Ranjith in exchange for pecuniary benefits.
Ranjith allegedly shared Air Force-related information, mostly pertaining to a recent exercise, movements of aircraft and deployment of various units, in exchange for money transferred to his bank account, police said.
It said Ranjith allegedly shared secret information also through e-mails and Internet-based text messaging services. The documents he had shared now have to be analysed to evaluate the actual damage and potential threat to national security, police said.
Police are trying to crack open the honeytrapping module and ascertain the identities of more security personnel associated with it.
Ranjith’s arrest came close on the heels of the cracking of an ISI-backed espionage racket by the Crime Branch of Delhi Police in connection with which five persons, including a serving and an ex-army personnel and a serving BSF man, were arrested.
However, the police have not yet been able to establish any link between Ranjith and the other racket, headed by one Kafaitullah Khan, which was found to have sources in the Pakistan High Commission here, it said.