Highly placed sources confirmed to the TOI that a 37-year-old man of Sri Lankan nationality, Zaheer Hussain, allegedly linked to a Pakistani terror outfit, was picked up in a joint operation of Central and state police forces.
The terror suspect, hailing from Kandy in Sri Lanka’s Central Province, has been remanded in judicial custody by a magistrate court in Chennai, sources said.
Hussain has been tasked by a senior official in the Pakistan High commission in Colombo to recruit youths from south India, especially in Tamil Nadu for terror activities, intelligence sources said.
Based on a tip off that “a person with close links with a Pakistan high commission official in Colombo” was involved in head hunting for the ISI, the state Q branch, a specialized wing of the police department dealing in terror and fundamentalist outfits, laid a trap.
A couple of weeks ago, the central intelligence alerted the Tamil Nadu police to closely monitor passengers flying in from Sri Lanka.
Tamil Nadu police confirmed that Hussain was nabbed on Tuesday and was found to have flown in with a tourist visa.
Hussain was remanded in judicial custody on Tuesday evening and lodged in Puzhal prison. He has been charged under IPC 120 B (conspiracy) and 480 C besides sections 16 and 17 of Prevention of Unlawful Activities.
“In his confession, he admitted to the role of a Pakistani official. It was a shocking revelation. We got some explosive information. The operation is still on,” a senior official said.
The arrest of Hussain and his “explosive confessional statement”, sent to the home ministry, has sent shock waves among the country’s prime anti-terror agencies, police sources said.
The arrest has activated intelligence teams, which are said to be closely monitoring south India. Police sources said the Pakistani official has been involved in the recruitment process for ISI and to circulate fake currency notes in India for more than two years. During the interrogation, Hussain revealed his contacts in Chennai and few other cities in the state.
In September 2012, the Tamil Nadu Q branch had nabbed A Tamim Ansari in Trichy when he was on his way to board a flight to Sri Lanka with a bunch of secret Indian naval documents and graphics loaded into compact discs.
Ansari was dealing in foreign footwear and was also exporting vegetables. An intelligence officer had stated then that the export business was only a facade to gain acceptability at some strategic levels and he had also in his possession photographs of the Trichy airport shot from various angles. He was booked under the Official Secrets Act, 1923. (The Times of India)