After one of its senior scientists, Pradeep Kurulkar, was arrested for allegedly leaking sensitive information to enemy spies, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has issued a strong advisory to its personnel asking them not to take calls from unknown numbers and to avoid social media platforms. “We have been issuing advisories and holding lectures by experts on maintaining cyber discipline but this incident has happened,” senior DRDO officials told ANI.

“After the arrest of senior Scientist Pradeep Kurulkar, we have issued a strong advisory to all our personnel to maintain cyber discipline like not taking calls from unknown numbers or foreign numbers,” they said. The personnel have also been asked to avoid presence on social media as this can lead to engagement with strangers and one can be a victim of such enemy intelligence operatives, the officials said. DRDO chief Dr Samir V Kamat has taken a strong view of the incident and has empathised that everyone in the defence research agency must behave and act responsibly while using the internet.

The officials said all the personnel have to be responsible enough on social media and other apps as many such operatives have been trying to target individual officers using WhatsApp numbers mostly from outside the country. The DRDO works on strategic projects that are most of the time classified in nature. On May 3, the Maharashtra Anti-Terror Squad arrested top DRDO scientist Pradeep Kurulkar on charges of leaking sensitive information to a virtual honey trapper suspected to be a Pakistani intelligence operative.

He was allegedly honey-trapped by a woman whom he had befriended on social media last year. The DRDO had carried out a probe into his activities and was prima facie found to be leaking information after which he was sacked as the Director of the lab he was heading in Pune. He was head of the Research and Development Establishment (Engineers) in Pune.