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NIA court awards five-year jail to Md Saleem over Espionage case

Saleem had pleaded guilty after which he was sentenced to a simple imprisonment of five years with a fine of Rs 2,000, a National Investigation Agency (NIA) spokesman said today.


PTI 31 Jul 2018, 01:39 PM India

A special court in Chennai has awarded five years jail to Mohammed Saleem in a case pertaining to counterfeiting currency notes and planning terrorist acts in south India in which the NIA has initiated a process for Interpol Red Corner notice against Pakistani diplomat Amir Zubair Siddiqui.

Saleem had pleaded guilty after which he was sentenced to a simple imprisonment of five years with a fine of Rs 2,000, a National Investigation Agency (NIA) spokesman said today.

The case, being heard by the special NIA court, pertains to a criminal conspiracy hatched by Saleem and others along with the then officials of the Pakistan High Commission in Colombo, Sri Lanka, during early 2014, with the intention of causing an explosion at the US Consulate and other places of public congregation in Chennai, and other installations in south India.

The accused had also procured high-quality counterfeit Indian currency notes for meeting the expenses towards such terrorist activities, the spokesman said.

The case was exposed by the Intelligence Bureau along with the Tamil Nadu Police on April 28, 2014, with the arrest of a Sri Lankan national Mohamed Sakir Hussain, who had arrived in Chennai to carry out the terrorist acts as per instructions from his handlers in the Pakistan High Commission in Colombo.

Later, the accused, Saleem and Sivabalan, were arrested on May 1 of the same year and high-quality counterfeit Indian currency notes were also seized from them.

The case was handed over to the NIA and Hussain pleaded guilty. He was sentenced to five years of imprisonment in 2015.

The NIA has filed a charge sheet against the Pakistani diplomat in February this year for allegedly conspiring to wage a war against India when he was posted in Sri Lanka in 2014.

Siddiqui has been accused of hatching a conspiracy to cause explosions at the US Consulate in Chennai, the Israeli Consulate in Bengaluru, the Electronic City in Bengaluru and various other places of the public congregation in south India.

The NIA has initiated the process for securing an Interpol Red Corner notice against Siddiqui.

Officials of the agency said the paperwork is being completed and would be soon sent to the Interpol headquarters in Lyon, France, for the issuance of the Red Corner notice against Siddiqui.

The diplomat during his stint in 2014 at the Pakistani High Commission in Sri Lanka had conspired to carry out terror strikes in India, they said.

Hussain had carried out reconnaissance of the US Consulate in Chennai and the Israeli Consulate in Bengaluru to facilitate a terror strike similar to the 26/11 attack. For this, two terrorists were to be flown in from the Maldives.

Siddiqui was working as a visa counselor at the Pakistan High Commission in Colombo but had to be repatriated to Islamabad after India mounted pressure on Sri Lanka about his alleged activities targeting the country.

He was nailed after the NIA was handed over evidence by US authorities.

The documents handed over by the US to India established communication between Hussain and 'Shahjee', a Pakistani national, introduced to the accused allegedly by a Pakistani diplomat working with its mission in Sri Lanka.

The NIA had sent a request under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty to the US for details from a company whose email services was being used by Hussain to communicate with his handler in Sri Lanka.

The code name for the terror plot to attack the US consulate in Chennai was "Wedding Hall", which was to be executed by "cooks", a code for terrorists who were to gain entry from the Maldives into India.

"Spice" was the code name for the bomb devices that were to be planted at the consulate.

Hussain had given a detailed description of his meetings with various Pakistani officials based in Sri Lanka as well as two "fidayeen" (suicide attackers) whom he had met in Bangkok.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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