NIA court convicts one more in espionage case

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Chennai, July 31 (IANS) A special NIA court here has pronounced Mohamed Saleem guilty in an espionage case for possessing counterfeit currency and conspiring to carry out terrorist attacks, the central agency’s official said on Tuesday.

The National Investigation Agency court delivered the judgment on Monday convicting 43-year-old Saleem for hatching a criminal conspiracy in 2014 along with the then officials of the Pakistan High Commission in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

The judgment said Saleem and others intended to cause explosions at the US Consulate and other places of public congregation in Chennai besides other installations in South India.

Saleem has been awarded simple imprisonment of five years along with a fine of Rs 2,000, the NIA official said.

The NIA, which took over the case from Tamil Nadu Police in June, 2014, said that Saleem had procured high quality counterfeit Indian currency notes for meeting the expenses towards the terror activities.

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It said that on April 28, 2014, Sri Lankan national Mohammed Sakir Hussain, the first to be convicted in the case, had arrived in Chennai to carry out terrorist acts on instructions from his handlers in the Pakistan High Commission in Colombo. Hussain was arrested by the Tamil Nadu Police.

Saleem and one of his associates Sivabalan were arrested on May 1, 2014, when high quality counterfeit Indian currency notes having face value of Rs 250,000 were seized from their possession, the official said.

The NIA filed a charge sheet against Hussain, Sivabalan and Saleem in October 2014 on the charges of criminal conspiracy and under other sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

During the framing of charges, Hussain had pleaded guilty of all charges and was accordingly convicted on November 28, 2014.

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The anti-terror agency also filed a supplementary charge sheet against the then Pakistan High Commission, Colombo, official Amir Zubair Siddiqui and two Chennai residents — Balasubramanian and Noorudeen — on February 22, in the case.

Siddiqui continues to be an absconder, the official added.

–IANS

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