Suspected IS recruiter Afsha Jabeen completely withdrew from the virtual world and confessed her secret life to her husband after the Hyderabad police arrested an engineer, one of her alleged recruits, on his way to join the terror outfit, HT has learnt.
The 38-year-old mother of three was deported by UAE on September 11 for her alleged links to the Islamic State and was arrested when she landed in Hyderabad, her home town.
“For the first time in the middle of this year, she told her husband Devender Kumar Batra, who converted to Islam to marry her, about her carefully built secret life as an Islamic State (IS) recruiter,” a home ministry official briefed on Jabeen’s interrogation told HT.
Jabeen, who is now in judicial custody, also told her husband about Salman Mohiuddin, the Hyderabad-based electronics engineer whom she met on Facebook seven years ago.
A Delhi resident was among some of the people being watched by the intelligence agencies for handling the Facebook pages created by the duo, sources said. A Jammu and Kashmir resident, an employee of an IT firm in Bengaluru and a woman were also on the list of suspects.
Jabeen’s husband or her family were not immediately available for comment.
Jabeen alias Nicky alias Nicole Joseph, said police, was posing as a British national on social media to lure youth into joining IS, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
“When Afsha got to know about Salman’s arrest, she was scared. She decided to disassociate from her secret life. She altogether left her virtual life and didn’t use internet at all in Abu Dhabi after April,” the home ministry official said.
“But, by then she was on the radar of intelligence agencies. Then she admitted to her husband of 13 years about her virtual life and Salman (Mohiuddin).”
Mohiuddin, 32, was arrested in January as he was leaving for Dubai to meet Jabeen and travel further to Syria to join the IS, investigators said. Though married, he had proposed to Jabeen whom he knew as Nicole Joseph, a British national, who was forced into marrying Paul Ali by her parents, sources said. It was his questioning that led security agencies to Jabeen.
Jabeen met Batra -- Mustafa after converting to Islam -- in 2002 when she was a ticketing agent with Al Yousuf Travels in Abu Dhabi. Batra was a paying guest at Jabeen’s house, investigators said.
Jabeen stayed with her in-laws in Hyderabad for a few years after her marriage before joining her husband in Abu Dhabi in 2007 when she started her Facebook page -- Islam vs Christianity – and came in contact with Mohiuddin.
“The page grew popular with around 50,000 followers in 2008. She claims to have converted four Christians to Islam. But due to incendiary propaganda, Facebook shut down the page in 2009,” the official said. Soon she was back on Facebook but was careful not to put out objectionable material though with Mohiuddin they continued to use social media to indoctrinate Indian youth.