The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has arrested a Sri Lankan national on charges of taking photos and videos of vital security installations in Chennai and passing them on to his handler in the Pakistani high commission in Colombo.
It is believed the spy gained access to sensitive areas such as the National Security Guard hub, Army officer training academy and Coast Guard facilities through an event management company that he opened in Chennai.
“It is a revisit of David Coleman Headley who opened an immigration firm and visited India several times and shot videos of places that were targeted by Lashkar-e-Taiba on November 26, 2008. In this case, Arun Selvarajan, the arrested Sri Lankan national of Tamil origin, managed to get an Indian passport based on forged documents and started an event management company in Chennai. In the guise of managing events, he videotaped the sensitive facilities and several crowded places in Chennai,” said a counter terror official requesting anonymity.
Selvarajan also went to Visakhapatnam where he photographed and took videos of naval facilities. He used to save these videos and photos as drafts attachments in his email account that was accessed by his Pakistani handler in Colombo.
Before him, counter-terror officials had arrested a Sri Lankan Muslim Sakir Hussain in Chennai on April 29 who was in touch with a staffer in Pakistani high commission in Colombo. Hussain allegedly followed and took photos of US consulate vehicles in Chennai. He also took photos of the Israeli mission in Bengaluru. Hussain allegedly emailed the photos to Amir Zubair Siddiqui, a counselor (visa) in the Pakistan high commission in Colombo.
Siddiqui, who was later recalled by Pakistan, was also the handler of another Sri Lankan Muslim Thameem Ansari who was arrested two years back — again in Chennai.
Selvarajan was arrested in connection with the case against Ansari. “Selvarajan was being handled by an officer junior to Siddiqui. He has identified Siddiqui and the junior officer in photos,” said the official.