A 32-year-old electrician on Monday was arrested by the special cell of the Delhi police for his alleged links with al Qaeda’s Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) module that was busted in December 2015.
The arrest of Abdul Sami took the total number of suspected AQIS militants arrested in India in the last one month to five. The police said on Monday that Sami allegedly had undergone a year-long training at Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) training camps in Mansehra in Pakistan.
The other four suspected AQIS operatives included the terror outfit’s India chief Mohammad Asif, madrassa teacher Abdur Rehman, fund raiser-cum-recruiter Zafar Masood and former imam of Bengaluru’s Masjid-e-Noorani, Maulana Syed Anzar Shah. The five arrests have been made from Delhi, Cuttack in Odisha, Bengaluru, Sambhal in Uttar Pradesh and Mewat in Haryana, the police said.
This was not the first time the Delhi police had gone after Sami. A joint team of Delhi and Jharkhand police had jointly raided his flat in Jamshedpur’s Dhatkidih locality around a fortnight back but he had managed to give them the slip.
Sami’s family members had at the time told the raiding team that he had gone on “jamaat” (religious tour) but pleaded ignorance of his whereabouts.
Sources in the police told HT that investigating agencies were monitoring his movement and were waiting for an opportune moment to nab him. “He seemed to have sensed trouble after Delhi police arrested one of his colleagues, Abdul Rahman, from Jagatpur area of Cuttack in Odisha earlier this month and hence fled away from Jamshedpur,” a source said.
Sami is a native of Jamshedpur in Jharkhand and was finally arrested on Monday morning from Nuh in Haryana’s Mewat region following a raid conducted by a special cell team under the supervision of ACP Alok Kumar and DCP PS Kushwah. He was brought to Delhi and produced before a city court that sent him to police custody till February 1.
A senior investigating officer said Sami was working under Abdur Rehman, the cleric who was arrested on December 15, 2015, from his mardassa in Cuttack, immediately after Asif’s arrest in Delhi’s Seelampur. The preliminary interrogation of Sami has revealed that he was associated with Rehman since 2001.
“Sami had disclosed that he was radicalized by Rehman after he met him at a religious ceremony where Rehman had delivered provocative speeches to motivate Muslims youths towards jihad. Sami was only 16 years old when he was indoctrinated by Rehman,” said the officer, adding that Sami’s name surfaced during Rehman’s interrogation.
Sami, the officer said, is the second suspected AQIS militant from Jamshedpur who has been indoctrinated by Rehman — the other being Abdul Sattar.
“In 2014, Sami went to Dubai on work Visa and from there he entered Pakistan with the help of Lashkar-e-Toiba’s sleeper cell agents based in the two countries. He underwent a rigorous training at LeT’s training camps where he was trained in handling sophisticated weapons, preparing bombs, and use of internet and computer,” the officer said.
In January 2015, Sami returned to India through Sharjah and Kathmandu in Nepal and reported about his arrival to Rehman who asked him to remain underground till further instructions. After the formation of AQIS, for which Rehman had been tasked to recruit new faces, he asked Sami to join the terror outfit.
“Sami has been claiming that he was yet to receive any instructions from Rehman about the outfit’s terror plans in India. He fled his hometown and was hiding in Nuh after AQIS’ India module was busted by our teams,” said another investigator.
The police are interrogating Sami further to ascertain his role in previous terror strikes in the country and the objective behind his training in Pakistan.
(With inputs from Ranchi)