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Hyderabad DRDL contract employee held for sharing info with suspected ISI woman handler

Hyderabad: In what is suspected to be a classic honey trap case, a contract employee with the Defence Research & Development Laboratory (DRDL), who allegedly shared confidential information with a suspected Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) female handler, was arrested by the Rachakonda Police here on Friday.

Acting on credible information, sleuths of Special Operations Team, LB Nagar zone, in a joint operation with Balapur police, arrested the 29-year-old suspect, Dukka Mallikarjuna Reddy, who was working in the RCI Complex. He was suspected to have shared confidential information related to DRDL-RCI Complex through social media with a woman, suspected to be a female handler of the ISI, Pakistan’s intelligence agency.

The suspect, who did his BTech and MBA, and had posted on his Facebook account about his work with DRDL, was contacted by the woman claiming to be Natasha Rao. She trapped the gullible suspect introducing herself as an employee of UK Defence Journal and that her father worked in the Indian Air Force before shifting to UK.

During the subsequent conversations with Natasha Rao who apparently went by others names too, including Simran Chopra and Omisha Addii, Mallikarjuna Reddy shared confidential information and also shared his bank account details. He was in contact with her till December last year.

The police booked Reddy under various sections of the Official Secrets Act-1923 and seized two mobile phones, a SIM card and a laptop.

Reddy, according to the police, was born and brought up at Naval Armament Depot (NAD) Quarters, Visakhapatnam, and his father worked as a Chargemen Civilian in NAD. He completed his BTech (Mechanical) from Visakhapatnam and later did his MBA (Marketing) from Hyderabad.

He joined the Patancheru branch of a Bengaluru-headquartered company and worked on a project from DRDL till January 2020. After the project, he directly approached DRDL authorities and got enrolled as a contract employee for a project with RCI Balapur.

The arrests were made under the supervision of Rachakonda Police Commissioner, Mahesh M Bhagwat, Additional Commissioner of Police G. Sudheer Babu, LB Nagar DCP Sunpreeth Singh, and DCP (SOT) K. Muralidhar.