The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has carried out searches at five places in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra as part of its ongoing investigation to unravel a conspiracy hatched by the global terror group Islamic State to expand its activities in India, an official said on Sunday.
The searches were conducted by different teams at the houses of the suspected persons at four places in Seoni (Madhya Pradesh) and one location in Pune (Maharashtra), a spokesperson of the anti-terror federal agency said.
Following up on the investigational leads, the official said, NIA teams searched the houses of suspects Talha Khan in Pune and Akram Khan in Seoni in the Islamic State- Khorasan Province (ISKP) case.
“This case was initially registered by Delhi Police special cell after the arrest of a Kashmiri couple – Jahanzaib Sami Wani and his wife Hina Bashir Beigh – from Okhla in Delhi. The couple was found to be affiliated with ISKP,” the spokesperson said.
During investigations, the role of another accused, Abdullah Basith, who was already lodged in Tihar Jail in another case being investigated by the NIA, emerged, the official said.
The NIA also carried out searches at three other locations in Seoni in the Shivamogga Islamic State conspiracy case. The places searched included the residential and commercial premises of suspects Abdul Aziz Salafi and Shoeb Khan, the official said.
On the Shivamogga case, the NIA said that as part of a conspiracy hatched from abroad, the accused persons – Mohamed Shariq, Maaz Muneer Khan, Yasin and others – based on instructions of their handler based abroad, targeted public and private properties such as warehouses, liquor shops, hardware shops, vehicles and other properties belonging to members of a particular community and committed over 25 incidents of arson and sabotage.
“They even carried out a mock IED blast. They were being funded through crypto-currencies by their online handler. As part of the larger conspiracy, accused Shariq planned to carry out IED blast at Kadri temple, Mangalore on November 19 last year but the IED exploded prematurely through an accident, when the perpetrator was enroute to the target location,” the official said.
The spokesperson said Salafi (40) is a prayer leader at the Seoni Jamia Masjid, while 26-year-old impressionable Shoeb sells automobile spare parts.
“Salafi, along with his accomplice Shoeb, were found actively propagating pernicious ideas such as ‘voting in elections is sinful for Muslims’. The group led by Salafi was in the process of radicalizing gullible Muslim youths of MP, Maharashtra and many southern states through provocative and inflammatory speeches on YouTube,” the spokesperson said.
The official said they were also trying to bring together such radicalized individuals in Seoni district.
The spokesperson said that from the material seized during the searches, it has come to light that this group was actively collecting information about ongoing activities and events in different jihadi theatres, including Afghanistan.
“Initial examination of the suspects have brought out the fact that they are radically motivated individuals, who totally abhor the idea of democracy in India, and were preparing for carrying out jihad against the people who believe otherwise,” the agency said.
The spokesperson said they were using social media platforms for dissemination of such false propaganda to impressionable youths.
“In furtherance of such efforts, Salafi was also in contact with the arrested accused Maaz Muneer Ahmed of Karnataka who had procured the explosive materials for the trial blast. Ahmed was arrested by NIA in November last year,” the spokesperson said.
The official said further investigations into the connections of these accused in the spread of Islamic State ideology in India are being continued to unearth the whole conspiracy.