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Another Lankan arrested for alleged spying for Pak’s ISI, security stepped up

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With the arrest of another Sri Lankan national for alleged spying for Pakistan’s ISI, central security agencies have stepped up surveillance of vital installations including defence and foreign consulates in southern parts of the country, reports said on Sunday.

After initial leads from central security agencies, National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested Arun Selvarajan in Chennai last week and allegedly recovered some incriminating documents including layout plans of country’s defence establishment like the Coast Guards complex.

During preliminary interrogation before being sent to judicial custody, Selvarajan, who is also wanted in Sri Lanka for allegedly supporting banned LTTE terror group, told the officials that he had supplied information about some strategic locations to ISI handlers based in Colombo who were operating from the Pakistan’s High Commission, official sources claimed.

NIA has already approached a court in Chennai and is expected to get his police remand tomorrow.

The sources said that surveillance had been mounted at various points to see whether more such espionage activities were being carried out at the behest of the ISI.

Selvarajan again named Amir Zubair Siddiqui, who was working as Visa Counsellor at Pakistan High Commission based in Colombo till some time back but had to be repatriated to Islamabad after India mounted pressure on Sri Lanka about his alleged activities targeting this country.

Pakistan’s Press Attache in Colombo Muhammad Daud Ehtisham has been quoted in some Lankan papers as saying that Siddiqui returned after completing his tenure in the island nation.

The arrested Lankan also named ‘Shahjee’ as his handler and said that his business had been in shambles when he was approached by the two Pakistani officials for allegedly carrying out espionage activities in India, the sources said.

He landed in India in 2011 and was helped in setting up an event management company. After organising some road shows in Chennai, Selvarajan’s company got an order for organising a function for one of local defence unit guarding India’s waters, the sources said.

After organising the function, Selvarajan sent a detailed outlay of the installation to his Pakistani handlers based in Colombo, the sources claimed.

Siddiqui was not a new name for the Intelligence Bureau as his name had cropped earlier in 2012-13 when security agencies picked up one Tameem Ansari, a frequent flier from Trichy to Colombo. Ansari was arrested after six months of surveillance in 2012.

India has already sent its request under Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) in this case to Sri Lankan authorities last year to help in questioning and gathering evidence from the Island nation.

Ansari was a small trader who sent, among other things, potatoes and onions to Sri Lanka. After reverses in business, Ansari came in touch with Haji, a Tamil-speaking Muslim from Colombo who is alleged to have introduced him to Siddiqui in the Pakistan mission in Colombo, and his second in command, Shaji.

After reportedly brainwashing him, Siddiqui roped him to take videos of the Nagapattinam port, the ships that berthed there, the topography and other dimensions as well as Mallipattinam, traditionally a landing point.

This was followed by arrest of Sri Lankan national — Sakir Hussain in April this year after a tip off from Intelligence Bureau as the accused had entered India with a mission to allegedly carry out reconnaissance of the US Consulate in Chennai and Israeli Consulate in Bangalore.

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