Extradition process of Lankan involved in plan to attack consulates begins


June 1, 2014

Investigations suggest ISI strategy is to rope in Muslims from Sri Lanka to execute plan, thereby providing plausible deniability

June 1, 2014

Investigations suggest ISI strategy is to rope in Muslims from Sri Lanka to execute plan, thereby providing plausible deniability

New Delhi: The extradition process of a Sri Lankan national, arrested in Malaysia for alleged conspiracy to carry out terror strikes on US and Israeli consulates in southern India, has begun with India asking Interpol to issue a Red Corner notice against the accused.

Mohammad Hossaini, who was arrested by Malaysian police in Kepong near Kuala Lumpur a fortnight ago, is wanted in India for allegedly hatching a conspiracy to carry out strikes on the US Consulate in Chennai and the Israeli Consulate in Bangalore.

Tamil Nadu Police secured a Non-Bailable arrest Warrant (NBW) against Hossaini, which was sent through diplomatic channels to France-based Interpol headquarters for issuance of Red Corner Notice, official sources said.

In the meantime, a provisional request has been sent to Malaysia for sharing interrogation report of Hossaini so other leads in the probe can be followed.

According to sources, Hossaini told Malaysian police he received instructions to assist two men in the attacks on the consulates. Malaysia tipped the Intelligence Bureau (IB) of possible attacks, in which Lankan national Sakir Hussain was identified.

Leads in the case surfaced when Malaysian authorities were probing money laundering and human trafficking cases. Hussain was alleged to be talking to Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) officers and planning terror strikes on the two consulates.

The arrests by Malaysian authorities were a follow-up of the capture of Hussain and his subsequent interrogation, which was shared with agencies in Kuala Lumpur and Colombo. Hussain told his interrogators he had been hired by an official from the Pakistani High Commission in Colombo to conduct a reconnaissance of the consulates in India.

Hussain, who was arrested on April 29 in a coordinated operation involving various countries including Malaysia and Sri Lanka, reportedly told interrogators Pakistan's spy agency, ISI, was planning to send two men from Maldives to Chennai and he had to arrange for travel documents and hideouts in Chennai and Bangalore.

Hussain travelled from Colombo to India and was arrested after prolonged monitoring by central security agencies. His sustained interrogation unravelled an alleged plan by the ISI to carry out terror strikes on the two consulates and also named an official at the Pakistan High Commission, based in Colombo, as his handler.

The reason ISI selected him, according to Hussain, was that he was engaged in human trafficking, making of forged passports and smuggling of fake Indian currency. Sources said pictures of the US and Israeli consulates, showing various gates and roads leading to the two premises, were recovered from his laptop. They also claimed these pictures were mailed to alleged handlers in Pakistan and that nation’s High Commission in Colombo.

Cyber signatures showed pictures were downloaded at a computer within the premises of the Commission in Colombo and the same was shared with Sri Lankan authorities, sources claimed. Hussain allegedly sent sketches of the roads leading to the two consulates in Portable Document Format (PDF) to his handlers, sources added.

The role of the Pakistani High Commission official in Colombo figured earlier in 2012/13, when central security agencies picked up Tameem Ansari, a frequent flier from Tiruchirappalli to Colombo. Ansari was arrested in 2012, after six months of surveillance.

Ansari (after supposedly being brainwashed) was roped into taking videos of Nagapattinam Port, the ships berthed there, topography and other dimensions; a similar report was prepared for Mallipattinam, traditionally a landing point.

The apparent strategy being followed by ISI is to rope in Muslims from Sri Lanka to execute plan, thereby providing plausible deniability.

Courtesy: PTI