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May 14, 2020

Germany charges Indian man with spying for RAW

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May 14, 2020

BERLIN: German prosecutors have charged an Indian man with spying on the Sikh community and Kashmir activists in Germany for India's intelligence service for more than two years, foreign media reported.

The federal prosecutor's office said on Wednesday that espionage chargesagainst the suspect, identified only as Balvir S in line with German privacy rules, were filed at a state court in Frankfurt.

He is accused of agreeing to pass information on Sikhs and the "Kashmir movement" and their relatives to an employee of India's Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), the foreign intelligence agency of India, on or before January 2015.

According to prosecutors, the suspect was in regular telephone and personal contact with the Germany-based intelligence officer and passed on information "in numerous cases" until December 2017.

They did not specify whether he is in custody. "He allegedly provided information about figures in the Sikh opposition scene and the Kashmiri movement and their relatives in Germany, and passed this on to his handlers who were working at the Indian consulate general in Frankfurt," the higher regional court in the city said in a statement earlier this week.

The trial will open on August 25. The same Frankfurt court convicted an Indian couple for spying on the same communities last December. The husband was handed a suspended prison sentence of 18 months for acting as a foreign intelligence agent and his wife was fined 180 days' wages for aiding him. India and Pakistan have disputed Kashmir since they became independent and split in 1947, with the nuclear rivals fighting two out of three wars over the region.