A court in Frankfurt has sentenced a 54-year-old Indian national to a year in prison and fined him € 2,400 (about Rs 2.16 lakh) after finding him guilty of spying on fellow Indians in Germany.
The convict had been tasked with gathering intelligence by Indian intelligence officers based in the Indian consulate in Frankfurt, the Higher Regional Court said. This is the fourth time in six years that German authorities have reported spying at the behest of Indian intelligence.
The court on Friday convicted Balvir S. – German privacy laws do not allow accused or victims to be identified by their full names – of gathering information on Sikh and Kashmiri communities in Germany, and handing it over at the Frankfurt consulate.
A press statement said: “Today, the 4th Senate (State Security Senate [Staatsschutzsenat]) of the Higher Regional Court (OLG) Frankfurt/Main has sentenced the Indian citizen Balvir S. for working as an agent for an intelligence service to a term of imprisonment of one year with a probation period of two years. As term of probation, the accused has to pay EUR 2,400 to the treasury.”
However, the “decision is not yet final”, the statement said. “The accused, their defence lawyers and the Attorney General (Generalbundesanwalt) have respectively the right of appeal…”
In December 2019, the Higher Regional Court in Frankfurt had sentenced one Manmohan S. who was convicted of working as an agent for an intelligence service to a year and six months’ imprisonment on probation. In 2015, a man called Ranjit S. was sentenced to three years and five months in prison on similar charges. Two years later, a Sri Lankan-born worker in a German immigration office in the city of Bielefeld was sentenced to three years and six months for providing information about Indian nationals.
All four cases involved the Consulate General of India in Frankfurt.
The Indian consulate did not comment on the allegations. Rainer Pohlen, defence lawyer in the Balvir S. case, claimed the reported information was “trivial”.