Bengaluru police have arrested Mehdi Masroor Biswas, the man allegedly behind terror group Islamic State’s (IS) most influential Twitter handle.
Mehdi Masroor Biswas has "confessed" he was handling the pro-IS tweeter "@ShamiWitness" and he was particularly close to English-speaking IS terrorists, Karnataka DGP L Pachau told reporters.
Bangalore police's investigating officer Hemant Nimbalkar writes on a photograph of Mehdi Masroor Biswas, in his police headquarters office in Bangalore (AP Photo)
An engineer working as "manufacturing executive" with a Bengaluru-based multinational company for an annual package of Rs 5.3 lakh, he became "a source of incitement and information" for the new ISIS recruits, Pachau said.
DGP Pachau, along with Bengaluru Police Commissioner M N Reddi, announced the arrest a day after Biwas was identified by UK-based Channel 4 as the elusive handler of the pro-IS Twitter account.
Cases had been registered against Biswas under various provisions of IPC, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and IT Act, Reddi said.
CCB ON TOP: ISIS Tweeter ideologue Mehdi Masroor Biswas, 24, Engineer arrested at Bengaluru by Crime Branch (CCB)! pic.twitter.com/c8hspLtuvS— JtCP Crime Bengaluru (@crimebangalore) December 13, 2014
Biswas, who is originally from West Bengal, used to run the Twitter account @ShamiWitness with over 17,000 followers, “two-thirds of whom are foreign fighters” fighting for the IS in Iraq and Syria. His tweets were seen over 2 million times making him the “most influential twitter account” for the IS.
Son of a retired assistant engineer who worked with the West Bengal Electricity Board, Biswas was tracked to his house through his mobile phone which he did not attempt to switch off.
Biswas was interested in the Levantine region, also known as Eastern Mediterranean, consisting of Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria and part of Southern Turkey from 2003 onwards, Pachau said.
Screen grab of the now deactivated @ShamiWitness Twitter account.
He used to work in the office during daytime and became active on the internet at nights, he said, adding, he had bought 60 GB Internet connection on monthly basis to read all breaking news on websites relating to ISIS/ISL.
Pachau said through his social media propaganda, Biswas abetted ISIL in its agenda to wage war against Asiatic powers.
ISIS twitter case: Accused arrested by police, confesses operating account since many years
Channel 4 exposed Biswas
Biswas was careful in hiding his true identity and was confident that it would never get revealed, the state police chief said. "His identity was exposed by Channel 4 and inputs were passed on to the Indian agencies."
In its report, 'Channel 4' Friday said the man operating the account had been able to remain anonymous "until now" and avoiding questions about his role in the Islamic State's propaganda war.
The channel said its investigation had, however, revealed that the man operating the account is called Mehdi and he is an executive with an Indian conglomerate in Bengaluru.
The report had not however revealed Mehdi's full name as he said his life would be in danger. The account was shut down after the report surfaced.
(With inputs from PTI)