Tamilnadu man gets five years jail for ISI links

By PTI Published on Jul 31, 2018 11:03 AM IST

Chennai: An NIA court here sentenced a 43-year-old man to five years imprisonment under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act for involvement in terror activities.

Mohammed Saleem, one of the accused in the NIA's Zahir Hussain ISI spy case of 2014, was also convicted under and the IPC for criminal conspiracy and circulating counterfeit Indian currency and sentenced to two years imprisonment.

The sentences for offences under the UAPA and IPC would run concurrently. "This is a case which clearly shows that Pakistani officials based in Sri Lanka were directly involved in furthering terrorist acts and circulation of counterfeit currency in India and engaging people for such activities," Public Prosecutor for NIA cases C S S Pillai told PTI.

When the case came up yesterday in a Special Court for NIA Cases at Poonamallee, Judge K V Senthur Pandian convicted Saleem under Sections 16 (punishment for terrorist act) and 18 (punishment for conspiracy) of UAPA, and sentenced him to undergo five years simple imprisonment.

The minimum punishment for both offences is five years imprisonment and the maximum is life imprisonment.

UAPA defines a terrorist act as any act with intent to threaten or likely to threaten the unity, integrity, security or sovereignty of India or with intent to strike terror or likely to strike terror.

An amendment to the Act in 2012 expanded the scope of a 'terrorist act' to include acts that threaten the economic security of India and damage its monetary stability by production, smuggling or circulation of high quality counterfeit currency.

Saleem, a resident of Royapuram, from whom fake currency with face value of Rs 2.5 lakh was seized, was slapped with a fine of Rs 1,000 separately for offences under the unlawful Act and IPC.

He pleaded for a minimum sentence when he was convicted. On 27 November 2014, ISI operative Mohammed Zahir Hussain pleaded guilty in the NIA court here to the charges against him.

The charges include waging war against India by conspiring to carry out terror acts at the behest of his handlers in Pakistan High Commission in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Circulating counterfeit currency was also one of the charges to which Hussain had pleaded guilty and he was sentenced to undergo five years imprisonment that year.

Hussain had confessed that he worked at the behest of his handlers, Amir Zubair Siddique and "Boss" alias Shah, officials at the Pakistan High Commission in Colombo.

Saleem was one of the accused in this case. Hussain was arrested in April 2013 by Tamilnadu's Q branch, which deals with national security and others subsequently.

After the case went to NIA, a charge sheet was filed by the agency on 23 October 2014 against Zahir Hussain, Siva Balan and Mohammed Saleem before the NIA court.

The other accused persons in the case include Balasubramanian and Rafiq.