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Espionage accused surveyed atomic plant: NIA

Arun Selvarajan, a Sri Lankan national arrested in Chennai on Wednesday for alleged espionage at the behest of Pakistan’s intelligence apparatus, conducted surveillance of the Madras Atomic Power Station, Kalpakkam, a National Investigation Agency official said.

Photographs obtained from his computers show that he surveyed the station at the instance of his handlers in the Pakistan High Commission in Colombo and shared photographs with them online. “Arun used Skype, WhatsApp and other platforms to interact with his handlers,” the official said.

Preliminary investigation revealed that the accused, who had been operating in South India since 2009, entered sensitive areas in the guise of an event manager and took photographs. After reconnaissance, he developed maps and sent them to his handlers. On an analysis of the CDs, one external and four internal hard disks, five cellphones and an iPad recovered from his possession, the police suspect that he could have developed maps of many vital installations, including those of defence establishments.

The NIA is concerned about the instructions Arun got a few months ago to survey crowded places in Chennai. “Investigations are under way to ascertain the motive,” the official said.

“We have come across several e-mail attachments and recorded conversations which have to be examined. Two PAN cards in his own name and under a false name, Sivagami Saravana Mutthu, have been seized, apart from a Sri Lankan and an Indian passport. Besides, ganja and six credit and debit cards were found,” the official said.

He purportedly gained access to the offices of the National Security Guard hub near Chennai, the Tamil Nadu Police headquarters, the Coast Guard and the Officers’ Training Academy of the Army in Chennai.

Cases in Sri Lanka

The accused has criminal cases pending against him in Sri Lanka, along with a look-out circular.

“Arun was handpicked by an agent in Colombo for this covert operation. Since three persons have already been arrested on espionage charges, we cannot rule out the possibility of more spies operating in the State,” an NIA official said.

During interrogation, Arun allegedly identified the name of his immediate handler as Santhe, suspected to be a codename, who worked under Amir Zubair Siddiqui at the High Commission. Amir Siddiqui has been accused of setting up at least three modules in southern India.

Based on a specific intelligence input, major ports, consulates and other sensitive establishments in the southern States have been asked to step up security, police sources said.


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Printable version | Dec 4, 2021 10:42:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/espionage-accused-surveyed-atomic-plant-national-investigation-agency/article6402036.ece

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