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A special NIA court in Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday sent a man to six years of rigorous imprisonment for passing photographs and videos of sensitive Indian installations to agents working for Pakistani defence establishment and spy agency ISI. Mohammad Rashid, a resident of Varanasi, has been convicted by the NIA Special Court Lucknow in the espionage case registered in 2020.

The case was initially registered by ATS, Gomti Nagar in Lucknow, on January 19, 2020, under the Indian Penal Code (IPC). It was taken over and re-registered by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on April 6 of the same year.

Rashid was charge-sheeted in July 2020. Another accused, Rajakbhai Kumbhar, was charge-sheeted by the NIA in February 2021. The special NIA court sentenced Rashid to three years of rigorous imprisonment with a Rs 2,000 fine or one-month imprisonment under section 120 B of the IPC, five years of rigorous imprisonment with a Rs 2,000 fine or one-month imprisonment under section 123 of the IPC, and six years of rigorous imprisonment with Rs 2,000 fine or one-month imprisonment under section 18 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

“All sentences will run concurrently,” an NIA spokesperson said quoting the order. According to NIA, investigations revealed that the accused had shared photographs of sensitive, tactical and strategically important installations and places in India, as well as details regarding the movements of the Indian Army and paramilitary forces, along with photographs of insignia clicked from his mobile, with agents across the border.

“It was also found during investigations that the accused had aided and abetted a conspiracy hatched by Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agents for the commission of terrorist acts,” the spokesperson said. Investigations further revealed that Rashid was in contact with agents connected with Pakistani Defence authorities, the ISI as well as government employees in Pakistan and was sending them the sensitive images and videos through WhatsApp.

He frequently used to reset his mobile phone and WhatsApp account to delete the logs and digital footprints of his communication to remove all traces of the same, the agency said. Acting on the directions of ISI agents, Rashid had also arranged fraudulently Indian SIM cards along with one-time passwords for operatives of the Pakistani spy agency, to facilitate the activation of WhatsApp accounts with Indian numbers in their country, the spokesperson said.

“As part of the conspiracy, he had received funds and gifts from the ISI agents for supply of the information, including photos and videos of places of strategic, tactical and religious importance,” the NIA said. The trial against the remaining accused is continuing, the spokesperson said.