South India terror: NIA seeks red corner notice against Pak diplomat
In a bid to nab a Pakistan diplomat accused of conspiring terror attacks in South India, the National Investigation Agency has sought a red corner notice through the Interpol.
The NIA had recently filed a charge sheet in which it named, Amir Zubair Siddiqui, a consular officer who was posted at the Pakistan High Commission in Sri Lanka.
Officials in the agency said the paperwork was being completed and would be sent soon to the Interpol headquarters based in Lyon in France for the issuance of the Red Corner notice against Siddiqui, who during his stint at Pakistani High Commission in Sri Lanka during 2014 had conspired to carry out terror strikes in India.
He was named by a Sri Lankan resident Sakir Hussain, who is at present undergoing a simple imprisonment after pleading guilty in a court of law. He was arrested by the Tamil Nadu Police after the Intelligence Bureau busted the conspiracy in April 2014.
His jail term will end next year. Hussain had carried out reconnaissance of the US consulate in Chennai and Israeli consulate in Bangalore to facilitate a terror strike similar to 26/11.
For this, two terrorists were to be flown in from the Maldives. Siddiqui was working as visa counsellor 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 this country.
He was nailed after the NIA was handed over evidence by the 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, which has carried out the probe into the conspiracy meticulously, had sent a request under Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty to the US for details from service provider whose email was being used by Hussain to communicate to his handler in Sri Lanka.
The response provided by US authorities following the request under the MLAT showed that the account was being operated by "Shahjee" who had provided the name while registering with the email account, the officials said.
There has been communication with some email addresses in Pakistan and an even personal account of Siddiqui, they said. The email account is also alleged to have been operated under the Internet Protocol (IP) address of the Pakistan High Commission in Colombo, they said.
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 Maldives into India. 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.
Hussain was told by a Pakistani official, who was of a higher rank than Siddiqui, that the project to carry out the attack at the US consulate in Chennai would be code-named as "wedding hall" and "cooks" was the code for the two terrorists who would have executed the plan.
"Spice" was the code name for the bomb devices which were to be planted at the consulate, they said.
The NIA had taken over the case from the Tamil Nadu Police. It carried out a detailed probe into the matter after registering a case against Hussain for alleged criminal conspiracy to commit terrorist acts targeting a foreign consulate located in South India as well as to circulate high quality fake Indian currency notes and thereby threatening the security and monetary stability of the country.