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NIA achieves breakthrough in espionage case

With arrest of Arun Selvarajan, a Sri Lankan national, in Chennai on Wednesday, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) says it has achieved a major breakthrough in the investigation of an espionage case.

According to an NIA official, the Sri Lankan national, on the pretext of running an event management company in Chennai, gained access to several security-sensitive installations.

“In coordination with the intelligence agencies, Arun Selvarajan, was arrested in Chennai in connection with a case registered in 2013 following the arrest of one Thameem Ansari who had been operating at the instance of Amir Zubair Siddique, an official in the Pakistan High Commission at Colombo in Sri Lanka,” the official said.

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

During interrogation, Arun is believed to have identified his immediate handler as Santhe, suspected to be a codename, who worked under Amir Siddiqui at the High Commission in Colombo. The NIA has seized photographs and other evidence from Arun, allegedly revealing that he had gained access to offices of the National Security Guard hub near Chennai, the Coast Guard and the Officers Training Academy in Chennai.

NIA probe into the espionage ring has so far revealed that Amir Siddiqui had set up at least three modules, run by Thameem (arrested in September 2012), Sri Lankan national Muhammad Zakir Hussain (arrested in April) and Arun.

“Arun entered the country in 2011, after which he got himself enrolled in an aviation academy. We suspect that he was funded by his handlers. The accused then set up an event management company named Ice Events, which organised conferences, concerts and wedding receptions. He also floated a website for the company,” said the official.

In the garb of event management, Arun allegedly gained access to sensitive installations, clicked photographs and gathered crucial information to pass it on to his handlers through the Internet, said the official.

According to the NIA, Zakir Hussain conspired with Amir Siddique and his senior officer codenamed Boss and Shah, to cause explosions at the office of the U.S. Consulate in Chennai and Israel Embassy in Bangalore.


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Printable version | Dec 2, 2021 2:27:06 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/national-investigation-agency-achieves-breakthrough-in-espionage-case/article6398253.ece

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