DRDO Clears Ex-Scientist of Mishandling Classified BrahMos Files

DRDO clears former scientist Sudhir Mishra of mishandling classified BrahMos documents, despite finding security lapses at the organization. An inquiry committee found no evidence to support claims that Mishra moved confidential files without authorization.

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Rafia Tasleem
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DRDO Clears Ex-Scientist of Mishandling Classified BrahMos Files

DRDO Clears Ex-Scientist of Mishandling Classified BrahMos Files

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has refuted allegations that former senior scientist Sudhir Mishra mishandled classified BrahMos documents. A fact-finding inquiry committee formed by the DRDO found no evidence to support claims that Mishra moved confidential files outside the BrahMos Aerospace premises without proper authorization around the time of his retirement on November 30, 2021.

Why this matters: The incident highlights the vulnerability of India's defense sector to security breaches and data leaks, which can have far-reaching consequences for national security. The incident highlights the vulnerability of India's defense sector to security breaches and data leaks, which can have far-reaching consequences for national security. It also emphasizes the need for more robust security protocols and oversight to protect sensitive information and research from potential adversaries.

The allegations surfaced after it was discovered that on Mishra's retirement day, a logistics company was hired to remove roughly 40 boxes of various sizes along with several documents from the BrahMos headquarters without an "out pass". Nearly a month later, on December 28, 2021, Mishra returned "a number of files, company documents, and information", including a file marked 'CONFIDENTIAL'.

The return of the documents prompted an investigation by the DRDO Vigilance Department, which revealed significant lapses in security protocols at BrahMos Aerospace. The inquiry committee found instances of "unnoticed and undocumented" items being removed from the premises, missing CCTV footage for a critical 15-day period, and poorly maintained "out pass" registers for returnable and non-returnable items.

Despite these findings, the Directorate of Public Interface (DPI), DRDO, acknowledged receiving a complaint against Mishra but stated that "the committee didn't find any evidence to back the allegation levied". This conclusion has raised questions about the effectiveness of security measures at one of India's most sensitive defense establishments.

Sudhir Mishra has vehemently denied any wrongdoing, calling the allegations a "malicious campaign and propaganda" against him by "vested interests". He maintained that he had handed over all classified documents to his successor in the presence of the company secretary and that it was not possible to move such files out of the organization undetected.

The incident has brought to light a concerning trend of security breaches and data leaks involving DRDO scientists in recent years. There have been several instances of suspected espionage and honey-trapping, highlighting the need for more stringent security protocols and oversight at the organization.

The DRDO's clean chit to Mishra, despite the glaring security lapses uncovered during the investigation, has left many questions unanswered. As India continues to make strides in defense technology and innovation, safeguarding classified documents and research becomes increasingly vital. The BrahMos incident serves as a wake-up call for the defense sector to prioritize security and implement robust protocols to protect the nation's strategic interests from potential adversaries and prying eyes.

Key Takeaways

  • DRDO clears former scientist Sudhir Mishra of mishandling classified BrahMos documents.
  • Investigation reveals security lapses at BrahMos Aerospace, including missing CCTV footage.
  • Incident highlights vulnerability of India's defense sector to security breaches and data leaks.
  • Several instances of suspected espionage and honey-trapping involving DRDO scientists in recent years.
  • Incident emphasizes need for robust security protocols and oversight to protect national security.