India deports Chabad couple as suspicious

An Israeli couple reportedly serving as Chabad emissaries in the Indian city of Kochi are being deported for “suspicious activities.”

The Times of India reported that Shneor Zalman and Yaffa Shenoi, who arrived in the city in March 2010, will be questioned before they are deported.

The couple raised suspicions, according to the newspaper, when they came on a multiple-entry visa and paid far higher than market rate to rent a house in the city.

They are accused of being part of an Israeli covert operation in retaliation for the November 2008 terrorist attack on the Chabad house in Mumbai, which killed six Israelis, including the Chabad emissary and his wife. More than 170 people died in the attacks in the Chabad house, luxury hotels, a train station and a popular café.

The Times of India quoted an intelligence officer who said central intelligence received an alert about a covert operation being carried out by suspected Israeli agents.

“A communication was sent to all states, and it was our wing in Kerala that traced this couple at Fort Kochi,” the officer is quoted as saying.

“We have traced the couple’s financial transactions,” Indian intelligence reportedly said. “Preliminary investigations suggest similar Israelis are camping in various parts of the country.”

Police also were suspicious of what they called late-night meetings in the house. The couple told Ynet they were hosting Shabbat dinners for travelers and members of the local Jewish community.

Zalman told the Jerusalem Post that the couple was invited by the small Jewish community to open the outreach center in Kochi. — jta