The action comes in the wake of two Indians being deported to Kochi a few days back after they had posted propaganda material on their social media sites praising the ISIS.
An Israeli couple was picked up in Kochi Kerala for suspicious activities and investigations have now revealed they were in the state trying to collect material against the Government.
However the duo had to be deported as they enjoyed international immunity, sources in the central intelligence agency informed. However their deportation does not mean that they were not involved in anything suspicious, but it had to be done only because they had international immunity sources also added.
However the police and the IB have in their custody a local handler who was helping the couple during their stay which was from March 3 2010. Investigators say that they were working undercover since then and were gathering government related information. there is also this suspicion that they may have been trying to tap into the sensitivities of the state and rake up trouble in a bid to destabilize the establishment. However this fact has not been confirmed as yet and only the interrogation of their local handler will be able to provide more details regarding the same.
The couple Shneor Zalman and Yaffa Shenoi were in India on a multiple entry visa and were residing at the Rose Street at Fort Kochi. They were paying a huge rent of Rs 50000 per month which police say is higher than the usual rent that is paid in this area. The police and the IB now believe that there could be more such Israeli spies in the state of Kerala and also other parts of the country who could be carrying out similar activities. The financial transactions are under the scanner and the police say that they have managed to get hold of the couple’s financial details now.
IB sources say that the couple were under the scanner for a very long time. It was found that they were meeting with locals through their handlers and also gathering data and material regarding the country. The material that has been collected and also passed on to their home country is under investigation. However the IB says that there has not been any major compromise on the national security front and these were spies on a specific mission.
However the deportation was inevitable as they enjoyed international immunity and moreover the lady was unwell as a result of which they had to be deported. Fort Kochi has been an attraction for tourists and the Jews in particular considering the fact that they had set up a major trading outpost and also had built a famous synagogue way back in the year 1568.
The allegations levelled by the prosecution in Chicago against Tawwahur Rana is very similar to the information that the National Investigating Agency has collected on the man. The prosecution in its closing arguments made it clear that it was Rana who helped his friend David Headley carry out the 26/11 attack.
Sources in the NIA say that the charges against Rana levelled by the prosecution is similar to what we have on him. He had opened a branch office of his immigration law business which is said to have provided cover for Headley when he went about scouting targets for the 26/11 attacks.
NIA sources however say that they were looking for more information and this was supposed to come out of the horseâ€™s mouth. Our independent investigations have shown that Rana had constantly helped Headley in his endevours. The NIA which will probe Rana after the completion of the trial at Chicago will book him on criminal conspiracy charges, sources said.
However there is one interesting point made by the prosecution during the course of the arguments at Chicago. The prosecution apart from speaking about the 26/11 attack had also claimed that both Rana and Headley had plans for the future as well. The prosecution makes a clear mention that the duo had future goals as well.
The NIA says that during their investigations, they have found that both of them had most of their plans in India. Although the ISI was using both these men for global operations, the maximum data that they have managed to collect has been on India. Rana had not helped Headley only for the 26/11 attack, but he had assisted him in each of his other operations, be it in Delhi or even Pune. The agreement between the two was very clear. Headley had been trained to scout targets while Rana an expert with documents helped him cover his operations. The fact of the matter is that Rana was always in the know of what Headley was up to and they reported to the same handlers in Pakistan.
However when the NIA manages to get permission to interrogate Rana, the questioning would be three pronged. The most important one would be pertaining to the 26/11 attack which would be followed by his ISI links. However for the NIA, the questioning regarding his future operations will also be extremely crucial. The NIA has in its possession certain documents relating to Ranaâ€™s visit to Kochi.
A team of the NIA which has been working on this aspect of the case say that he had visited Kochi in Kerala. IGP of the NIA, Loknath Behra had said that there was a headway made in this direction of the probe and in due course of time the details will be made known.
Sources however add that his purpose of the Kochi visit was clearly to conduct a recee. There were locals in Kochi who have helped Rana. Investigations till date show that his visit was more of an exercise to lay the ground work. When one looks at the Rana visit in the light of the statement by Ilyas Kashmiri, it does make sense that this man visited Kerala. Kashmiri had clearly stated that he wanted cadres from Kerala to carry out his ambitious Ghazb-e-Hind project. Moreover Kashmiri was also in touch with Headley and their proximity is not something that is unknown.
Rana had visited Kochi under the guise of an immigration consultant. All through he was acting as per the instructions of the ISI. Sources also add that he may have set up fronts in Kerala like how he did for Headley so that terror cadres could carry out operations under cover. The fact that he conducted a recee is yet to be ascertained since Rana was not trained to do that.
The NIA says that his visit to Kerala was for a specific purpose. His interrogation would reveal the exact details. When Rana was in Kerala, he had placed an advertisement in a local paper inviting visa seekers to both the US and Canada. This according to investigating agencies was a cover up and this front was possibly used to get cadres under one umbrella which Kashmiri was speaking about.
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