Pakistani intelligence officers posted to get details of Project Varsha

SpyingTwo Pakistani intelligence officers posted in Sri Lanka deputed two spies to get details of ‘Project Varsha’, India’s new naval base near Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) which will be home for its new fleet of nuclear submarines, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) chargesheet dated March 6, 2015 revealed the details, according to The Times of India. They also asked the spies to attempt befriending and luring Indian Navy and Army officers to Colombo (Sri Lanka) where “women and cash could be arranged” to get information on defence matters.

The charge sheet, says one of the spies, Thameem Ansari was asked by the Pakistani officers to pose as a film-maker making a documentary titled ‘Power of India’ on the Indian armed forces to befriend some Army and Navy officers. The two Pakistani officers named in the chargesheet are Amir Zubair Siddiqui, counsellor (visa) posted with the High Commission of Pakistan in Sri Lanka and Vineeth alias Rana, “a Pakistan intelligence officer” also posted in Sri Lanka, the NIA has said.

Siddique had specifically instructed Ansari to get details about Visakhapatnam Naval Base and concentrate on Project Varsha for which he asked him to go to Visakhapatnam and hire an accommodation near naval station,” the chargesheet says.

Vineeth had further asked for details on Project Varsha such as “stage and depth of the channel”, the agency said. NIA has said that Ansari was told to visit places that naval officers frequent “viz. hotels, bars, cinema theatres etc” and asked to pose as a rich businessman to befriend them. “Siddique suggested that if Ansari was able to befriend ex-Army officers, naval or Army officers, they could be brought to Colombo, where he would arrange all kinds of facilities for them like women, cash, drinks etc. for getting information of the defence details,” the agency said, without mentioning whether Ansari was actually successful in doing so.

NIA, however, said Ansari and another spy, Arun Selvarajan arrested in India in 2012 and 2014 respectively recced and photographed numerous secret installations. The chargesheet lists these places: “Wellington Military Training Centre and Defence Service Staff College, Station Head Quarters at Wellington, Karaikkal, Nagapattinam harbours including Naval detachment at Nagapattinam, Indian Naval base at Mallipattinam, Mallipattinam Fishing Jetty and Indian Air Force station at Thanjavur.” (SATP)

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