A 45-year-old Indian national has been sentenced to a nine-month jail by a German court for spying on the Indian community in the country. Ranjit S, an electrician, violated the German law by engaging in espionage operations, the high court in Koblenz said in its verdict delivered last week.
The court said during the trial involving nine days of hearing that the convict had collected information on the Indian community in Germany, especially on Sikh extremist groups, and passed it to an official at the Consulate General of India in Frankfurt.
It ruled that the convict committed the offence not only by "gravely disregarding" Germany's sovereignty but also by cooperating "conspiratorially and actively" with the Indian intelligence agency.
Ranjit, who came to Germany in 2002 with a forged passport, told the court that he was a Sikh and in India he worked as a member of the All India Sikh Students' Federation which campaigns for an independent state in Punjab, the court statement said.
He has been convicted on several occasions in the past for acquiring fraudulent identity cards and for smuggling of foreigners. His application for political asylum in this country was rejected by the authorities and his deportation to India was suspended.
Ranjit has been in preventive custody following his arrested on 10th April in another criminal case. His work for the AISSF also enabled him to gain access to some Sikh extremist groups such as Babbar Khalsa International which is treated as a terrorist group by the European Union.