The NIA arrested Abdul Rehman Abdul Jabbar Sheikh, 53, from his residence

A terror funding conspirator from Mumbai was arrested by the National Investigation Agency on Saturday who was involved in the 2019 Visakhapatnam espionage case.

The case involved spies based in Pakistan who honey-trapped some junior level Navy personnel through social media and collected vital information regarding location and movements of Indian naval ships and submarines.

The NIA arrested Abdul Rehman Abdul Jabbar Sheikh, 53, from his residence based on inputs given during questioning those accused in the case and technical analysis. 

He is the 15th accused in the case so far. So far the arrests made in the case include Abdul Rehman's wife Shaista Quaiser, 11 Navy personnel, and Mohammed Haroon Haji Abdul Rehman Lakdawala, 49, from Mumbai. An official stated that the agency recovered a number of digital devices and incriminating documents during a search at Abdul Rehman`s residence.

All of them along with others were involved in terror funding.

The NIA took on the case on December 29 last year from Andhra Pradesh Police. The case was originally registered on November 16, 2019, at CI Cell division of Andhra Pradesh Police under criminal conspiracy and waging or attempting to wage war against the Indian government of Indian Penal Code (IPC), and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and Section 3 of Official Secrets Act.

In the case, few Navy personnel came in contact with Pakistani nationals through social media platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp and divulged information about locations or movements of Indian naval ships and submarines and other defence establishments.

A thorough investigation into the chats and messages revealed sexually explicit content exchanged with Inter-Services Intelligence agents posing as young women. Moreover, the Indian recruits shared classified information in exchange for money.

The racket was eventually busted in an operation code-named `Dolphin`s Nose` conducted by naval intelligence, Central agencies and Andhra Pradesh State Intelligence wing.