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‘ISI planned to target national assets’

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Suspected ISI agent Mohammed Zahir Hussain was part of a larger ISI mission to target critical national assets and some foreign establishments besides being convicted of offences related to human trafficking and imprisoned in Singapore, Thailand and in his own country Sri Lanka, highly placed police sources said.

Mohammed Zahir Hussain told ‘Q’ Branch Police; handling cases related to national security, that he had spent close to four years in prison in Singapore, one year each in Thailand and Sri Lanka, sources said.

It has also emerged now that the ISI handlers in Colombo decided to “use his services,” based on his “solid field work” in human trafficking.

“ISI handlers wanted to use Hussain’s expertise in illegally ferrying people. They wanted to minimise the chances of getting detected by using his services,” an official said.

It is clear that he was part of a larger ISI mission to target “critical national assets besides certain foreign establishments,” he added.

Hussain had also told investigators that he had “absolutely no role” in the May 1 twin bomb blasts on the Kaziranga Express at Chennai Central Railway Station. He claimed that he was a textile trader who had been “importing lungis” from Tamil Nadu to his country.

Sources said he had confessed to having gathered important details related to vital installations. The information includes topography of American and Israeli consulates in Chennai and Bangalore respectively besides naval establishments in Visakhapatnam and Kochi.

He had also admitted to having assisted in procuring fake passports for two persons to visit India, also suspected to be ISI agents. He told the investigators that he had “not done anything so far “except “collecting details and arranging” fake passports, sources said.

The 37-year-old Hussain was arrested on April 29 from an undisclosed location here following intelligence inputs. On May 5, a court here granted 3-day custody to Q Branch for interrogating him.

Police also seized some materials and counterfeit currency notes from him when he was arrested.

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