U.S. Electronics Supplier Arrested for Allegedly Exporting Missile Technology to India

The chief executive of an electronics supply company is charged with shipping closely guarded U.S. computer technology to India for use in missiles and other weapon systems.

Working with Indian government officials, Cirrus Electronics founder Parthasarathy Sudarshan ordered computer equipment from U.S. manufacturers using falsified documents about their destination, federal prosecutors said. The parts were allegedly shipped to India through Cirrus offices in South Carolina and Singapore.

Prosecutors say that between 2003 and 2006, Sudarshan was buying the equipment for three Indian government agencies: the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, which researches spacecraft and ballistic missiles, Bharat Dynamics Ltd., a key agency in the nation's guided missile program, and the Aeronautical Development Establishment, which is developing the Tejas combat jet. The U.S. Commerce Department restricts exports to these agencies.

The equipment included heat-resistant memory chips, microprocessors, capacitors and semiconductors used in missile guidance systems and firing systems, according to a federal indictment unsealed recently.

Sudarshan was arrested March 23 and was ordered held without bail until his court appearance Tuesday. Also arrested was Mythili Gopa, the company's international sales manager, who opened the Cirrus office in South Carolina in 2003. She was released and is due in court April 17.

They are charged with export violations, international arms trafficking, being agents for a foreign government and conspiracy.

Both are Indian nationals living legally in the United States. Two others were indicted and have not been arrested: Akn Prasad, the head of Indian operations for Cirrus at its office in Bangalore, and Sampath Sundar, the company's operations director who worked out of Singapore.

The indictment describes coordination between Cirrus and Indian government officials. Prosecutors identified but did not name "Coconspirator A," an Indian government official located in Washington. Though he was not charged, prosecutors said he worked closely with the company and discussed official government reimbursement for company expenses.