It was a phone call made by a drunk Arun Selvarajan, 28, to one of his friends on Tuesday night, boasting of his international links and funding sources, that gave the NIA the clinching lead. The alleged spy was arrested by the agency the following day in Chennai.
According to the NIA, Selvarajan, a Sri Lankan national, hails from Jaffna and had been spying on vital installations in Chennai at the behest of a Pakistan embassy official in Colombo. He illegally possessed two passports, a PAN card and made frequent trips to Kochi, Bangalore and Hyderabad.
Friends of Selvarajan were not willing to reveal anything about him to The Indian Express. A leading model in the city who walked for events organised by the alleged spy said she does not want to recall anything about him. “We are all shocked to see the news reports,” she said. Another model refused to comment.
His parents and siblings in Colombo are yet to contact the Indian authorities over his arrest.
A senior official said Selvarajan was under the surveillance of the NIA for several months, especially after the arrest of Thameem Ansari, another alleged spy for Pakistan, who was caught by the Tamil Nadu Police in 2012.
“We have been overhearing his phone conversations for several months. We are now retrieving his communication logs from Skype and Viber accounts,” the official said.
Son of a businessman from Jaffna, Selvarajan spent three years in an international school in Chennai before his father shifted the business back to Jaffna in 2003. The same year, he failed his Class 10 exam and for the next three years remained at home. “He was given Rs 1 crore (Sri Lankan currency) by his father to start a business in 2006 and he opened Hotel Atlantic in Colombo that year,” said the officer.
Selvarajan, according to the NIA, was caught up in the hands of Pakistani agents after he suffered a loss in his business in 2007.