A 58-year-old German immigration official has been charged with espionage for allegedly sharing confidential data on people from the Sikh community in the country to an Indian intelligence agency, authorities said on Tuesday. According to federal prosecutors, the man – identified only by his initials as TSP in accordance with German laws – accessed government files and passed on information on "extremists Sikhs" to the unnamed Indian agency, AFP reported.

Under German law, an individual can face up to 10 years in jail for spying for a foreign country. TSP worked at a government office in Ostwestfalen town in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia. He has been charged with "espionage activity and violation of professional secrecy rules in 45 cases", according to PTI.

He was detained on February 17 and has been in custody since. Prosecutors filed their indictment at Berlin's Superior Court on September 7, but released their statement only two weeks later.