Lucknow/Meerut: The Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) of Uttar Pradesh, which earlier apprehended a retired Army soldier, Signalman Saurabh Sharma, in counter espionage operation, has made another arrest from Gujarat.

According to reports, the UP ATS team on Friday arrested Anas Giteli from his residence and is seeking his transit remand to bring him to their UP ATS HQ for joint questioning and examination.

The ATS team had earlier arrested Saurabh Sharma on the basis of the inputs provided by Lucknow based Military Intelligence (MI) Unit. Inputs suggested that the suspect, retired Signalman Saurabh Sharma (among his multiple payments in lieu of the sensitive information shared) had received a payment of Rs 4000/- electronically in February 2020.

This amount was transferred to Saurabh’s account by Anas Giteli s/o Yakub Giteli resident of Panchmahal, Godhra, Gujarat.

Interestingly, it was also reported that Anas Giteli’s elder brother, Imraan Giteli (37 years), was earlier arrested by NIA Hyderabad in September 2020 in the infamous Vishakhapatnam Espionage Case for his involvement in sending money to sailor sending critical information to a Pakistani agency.

However, further details are being ascertained in this regard. Sharma, the ex-serviceman was working for a Karachi-based Pakistani intelligence agency since 2016, according to sources.

In November 2020, the MI officials had received inputs indicating the involvement of Signalman Saurabh Sharma (Retd) in espionage activities. The input was further developed as “Operation Cross-Connection“, and the details were shared with UP ATS in early December and a joint investigation was initiated.

After working on the input for a month UP ATS on Friday arrested the suspect, Signalman Saurabh Sharma (Retd) from his parental house in Hapur district’s village Bihuni.

Signalman Saurabh Sharma accepted his involvement with the Pakistani intelligence agency and revealed that he came in touch with the Pakistani Intelligence Operative (PIO) on Facebook in 2014. 

Initially, the PIO introduced ‘herself’ as a defence journalist but later started seeking sensitive military information by 2016 in return for money. He used to share this information in form of text, audio and photo messages and also on call mostly using WhatsApp. He reportedly has received several payments from his handlers. 

The soldier retired from the Army in June 2020 for medical reasons. Traces of his activities have been found on his mobile phone.

An FIR has been lodged at Gomti Nagar Police Station in Lucknow against the accused under sections 120B, 123 of IPC, sections 3,4,5 & 9 of Official Secrets Act (OSA), and section 13 of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). 

He is being produced before the court. It is anticipated that UP ATS shall ask for Police Custody (PC) of the accused of furtherance of the investigation. Further leads of the case are being examined jointly by Lucknow MI, UP ATS, and Central Intelligence Agencies.

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