Twitter has exploded on the news of the Maharashtra Anti Terror Squad arresting a top official from India’s premier defence organisation for spying for Pakistan. Pradeep Kurulkar, the Director of Defence Research and Development Organisation, was arrested for leaking sensitive information to an ISI agent who he reportedly met on WhatsApp. Meanwhile, news agency ANI is facing widespread ridicule for omitting Kurulkar’s name since he happens to be a Hindutva sympathiser.
59-year-old Kurulkar was arrested under the Official Secrets Act before a court remanded him to the ATS’s custody till 9 May.
The top defence official had reportedly met a Pakistani woman on WhatsApp and was in touch with her since 2022. Both were in touch with other since September last year and routinely exchanged voice messages and made video calls to each other.
After his alleged links with a Pakistani spy came to light, Kurulkar was removed from his post as the Director of the DRDO. The ATS confiscated his two mobile phones and other electronic devices.
“The scientist, by misusing his position, despite knowing that the official secrets in his possession if obtained by the enemy country can pose a threat to the security of the country, provided the details to the enemy country,” news agency PTI quoted the ATS as saying.
Meanwhile, the role of ANI has come under sharp scrutiny after the news agency decided to omit Kurulkar’s name from its series of tweets due to his identity as a Hindutva sympathiser.
ANI posted three tweets about Kurulkar’s arrest but did not reveal his identity, prompting netizens to slam the pro-government news agency.
One user wrote, “When ANI doesn’t mention the name, then assume that the person is not from minority community.” “Hindu anti-national Brahmin, I thought only RSS was capable of it,” wrote another user.
— SP (@SurajPa89539926) May 5, 2023
— Pradeep (*Parody*-Per Elon’s advice) (@Pradeep_tk) May 5, 2023
ANI didn’t mention name, hence pliable??? https://t.co/uN3Nma6B1Q
— Politically Incorrect (@Sonuraj152) May 4, 2023
Bastards! The deliberate attempt to hide the name of the accused has evoked an immediate rush of lalochezia. These charlatans @ANI disguising as journalists would have gone bonkers had the accused been a Muslim. https://t.co/OdxkBjM9Bb
— khalid aftab (@khalidjnu) May 4, 2023
The development comes amidst constant efforts being made by India’s Hindutva brigade to declare Muslims as anti-nationals. The role of ANI in defaming Muslims has been criticised in the past. The agency was exposed by the Uttar Pradesh Police when it ran a fake news blaming members of Tablighi Jamaat for spreading coronavirus.