The Maharashtra ATS in a joint operation with West Bengal STF Saturday arrested two persons with alleged links with a terrorist organisation in suburban Bandra in the western metropolis, an official said. The two accused – Saddam Hossain Khan and Samir Hussain Sheikh hail from West Bengal and were apprehended from Nirmalnagar area of Bandra, the anti-terrorism squad (ATS) official said.

An official of the West Bengal special task force (STF) told PTI that the two men have links with a branch organisation of Al Qaeda.

They were handed over to the West Bengal STF which is investigating the case, he said.

According to the STF sources in Kolkata, Sheikh(30) is a resident of Deulpota under Diamond Harbour police station in West Bengal.

“Sheikh had studied in a madrassa in Burdwan district and after completing his studies at Panskura in Purba Medinipur district, he joined a mosque at Abdalpur in Diamond Harbour as an imam. He was involved in terrorist activities in the guise of an imam,” the official said.

Sheikh’s family, however, claimed that they have no knowledge about his involvement in any terrorist activity.

Saddam is a resident of Parulia coastal police station in Diamond Harbour and the police launched a search for him after receiving complaints of jihadi activities at the behest of Al Qaeda on the social media by him.

During Saturday’s arrest the police reportedly found a suspicious phone application active on their mobile phones.

“We are interrogating the two men and trying to find who are involved with them,” the officer added.