Members of a suspected radical group in Hyderabad had allegedly sent a letter pledging allegiance to Islamic State chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi before their arrest last week, an official of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) told HT on Monday.
The scanned letter was allegedly e-mailed to their “handler” – often used to refer to recruiters for terrorist groups – who claimed to be based in IS-held areas in Syria with contacts with the outfit’s top members.
The NIA is questioning five alleged members of the IS-influenced group who were arrested in Hyderabad last week. Six more suspects who were in touch with the accused are also being questioned.
The families of the arrested people have denied the allegations. The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief and Lok Sabha member from Hyderabad Asaddudin Owaisi has promised to provide them legal help.
“We have evidence to prove that at least five members of the group first signed a letter pledging allegiance to al-Baghdadi,” said a senior NIA officer, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to sensitive nature of the probe.
“The handler told them he had direct channels of communications with core members of the IS there”.
Investigators say the alleged ring-leader of the group, Ibrahim Yazdani, twice tried to travel to Greece in order to reach Turkey from where he planned to get into the IS-held areas.
Ibrahim allegedly wanted to take his wife, child and brother to the IS-held area.
In his third attempt, he filed an online an application to get admission in a university in Turkey which was accepted as well but the plan also fell through as he had to leave his wife and child here.