New Delhi — Police charged 18 people Monday in the biggest espionage scandal in Indian history, alleging they passed secrets to foreign countries believed to include France, the Soviet Union, Poland and East Germany.

A total of 18 individuals and a Bombay export company were charged with entering into a conspiracy to sell sensitive information relating to India’s defense, electronics, trade and commerce, to officials to foreign embassies, an Indian official told United Press International.

The charges were filed under several sections of the Officials Secret Act and the Indian Penal Code and carry a maximum punishment of life imprisonment.

The suspects, who are in judicial custody, were not present as prosecutor B. R. Handa submitted the charges before Metropolitan Magistrate Bharat Bhushan in a closed session.

An official told UPI that testimony of 188 witnesses was contained in the list of charges that ran 2,100 words.


The document was not released to the public because it involved India’s sensitive relations with foreign countries, the official said.

“The prosecution has identified the foreign agents to whom secret information was being passed,”’ said the official, declining to name the nations.

Sources have said the mastermind of the spy ring was alleged to be Yogesh T. Maneklal; managing director of the Bombay based Export Company of S.L.M. Maneklal Industries.

Article extracted from this publication >>  April 19, 1985