Chennai: Terror plot to attack US consulate codenamed wedding hall

New Delhi: The code name for the terror plot to attack the US consulate in Chennai was a "wedding hall" which was to be executed by "cooks", a code for terrorists who were to gain entry from Maldives into India.

Details of the failed plot were contained in the 23-page court order of Designated Special NIA Judge in Poonamallee, Chennai, in connection with the case.

Armed with the court order, National Investigation Agency(NIA) would push its case for visiting Sri Lanka at the earliest. A proposal for the same has been lying in the Home and External Affairs Ministries for more than two months now, official sources said here.

The conspiracy allegedly by Pakistan's ISI to carry out terror strikes in South India was exposed by Sakir Hussain, a Sri Lankan national. He has been sentenced to a five-year jail term on November 28 for being part of this conspiracy.

Hussain, who pleaded guilty to the charges slapped on him by the NIA, also spelled out the role of the then Pakistan's diplomat in Sri Lanka, Amir Zubair Siddiuqi, who has been since repatriated to his country.

The order listed Siddiqui as an accused in the case of waging war against India and also under various sections of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

In his testimony, Hussain gave a detailed description of his meetings with various Pakistani officials based in Sri Lanka as well as two "fidayeen" (suicide attackers) whom he had met in Bangkok.

According to the court order, Hussain was told by a Pakistani official, who was of a higher rank then Siddiqui, that the project to carry out the attack at the US consulate in Chennai would be codenamed as "wedding hall" and "cooks" was the code for the two terrorists who would have executed the plan.

"Spice" was the code name for the bomb devices which were to be planted at the consulate, the order said.

The sources in the probe agency said there were many loose ends in the case which needed to be tied up urgently and a visit of NIA team to Lanka would help the probe agency in at least filing charge sheet against some of the Sri Lankan nationals involved in the case.

Hussain was arrested on a tip-off from Intelligence Bureau by Tamil Nadu Police. After his arrest, sleuths recovered a laptop in which a detailed plan to allegedly carry out suicide attack on the two consulates had been mailed to Siddiqui in Colombo, the sources said.

NIA had taken over the case from Tamil Nadu Police and carried out a detailed investigation into the matter after registering a case against Hussain for alleged criminal conspiracy to commit terrorist acts targeting a foreign consulate located in South India as well as to circulate high quality fake Indian currency notes and thereby threatening the security and monetary stability of the country.

After a probe, NIA filed a charge sheet on October 23 against Hussain, Sivabalan and Mohammad Saleem.

Investigation by NIA had established that the accused were involved in a criminal conspiracy for committing terrorist acts and threaten the monetary stability of India.

The other two have pleaded not guilty and have expressed willingness to contest the case.

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