Mohammed Zakir Hussain, a Sri Lankan Tamil arrested by the Tamil Nadu Police here on Tuesday, had allegedly conducted a reconnaissance mission as part of a conspiracy to attack foreign missions in southern India.
Hussain had taken photographs of the U.S. Consulate in Chennai, the Israeli Consulate in Bangalore and other vital installations, and studied their topography at the behest of Pakistani diplomat Amir Zubair Siddiqui, police sources said on Wednesday.
Siddiqui, Counsellor (Visa) at the Pakistan High Commission in Colombo, and his associate Boss, alias Shah, are being named as accused along with Hussain. Siddiqui allegedly engaged Hussain to gather information on vital installations in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Shah, also said to be a Pakistani diplomat, was part of the plot designed by Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), the sources told The Hindu.
“We are naming Siddiqui and Shah as accused in the case … Hussain has confessed that he was taking instructions from them. This is the second case of terror activities involving Siddiqui. In September 2012, one Thameem Ansari, who was arrested on charges of videographing defence establishments, said he was working for Siddiqui,” a top police official said.
Central intelligence agencies had been maintaining a close watch on Hussain, a frequent flier between Colombo and Chennai in the recent past. With specific input that some Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives would attempt to land on the Tamil Nadu coast from northern Sri Lanka to target vital installations, security agencies had stepped up vigil at vantage points, police sources said.
“We had an alert that Hussain was also asked to prepare fake passports to facilitate the arrival of two Pakistani nationals in India. Some incriminating materials were also seized from him, the details of which cannot be disclosed at this stage,” a police official said.
Meera Srinivasan adds from Colombo:
When contacted, Muhammad Daud Ehtisham, Press Attache, High Commission of Pakistan in Sri Lanka, said: “These reports are speculative in nature. Pakistan and its state institutions are responsible entities and do not indulge in such activities. This seems to be a malicious media campaign.”