NIA sleuths zero in on over a dozen Islamic State suspects

  • Rajesh Ahuja, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jan 28, 2016 01:36 IST
Suspected terrorists Akhlaq, Osama, Mohammad Afroz and Mohammad Aziz were arrested in a raid conducted by the special cell of the Delhi Police and intelligence agencies in Haridwar. (HT Photo)

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is in the process of identifying and arresting around more than a dozen suspects who were part of an Islamic State-inspired outfit in the country, sources told HT.

In the past one week, the NIA arrested 14 alleged members of the outfit known as ‘Janood-ul-Khalifa-e-Hind’ (the army of Caliph) that was formed at the instance of a person named as Yusuf al-Hindi, who Indian security agencies believe is Shafi Armar, a resident of Bhatkal in Karnataka. Armar and his brother Sultan are key members of terror outfit Indian Mujahideen (IM).

“Shafi is now believed to be in the Islamic State (IS)-held area along the border of Iraq and Syria. He connected all the boys who basically got hooked to the IS ideology. There are around 12 to 15 more members of the group who are in the process of being identified and arrested. We have also found links of the group with four boys arrested by the Delhi police in Uttarakhand few days ago and even one of the four boys that disappeared from Malwani in Mumbai. Two of the Malwani boys came back to their families. One is believed to have left India and the fourth boy is still suspected to be here,” said an investigator who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The investigator added that a person named Rizwan arrested by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad from Uttar Pradesh was allegedly in touch with one of the boys from Malwani who is suspected to be still in India.

The outfit held many meetings in the past six months at places like Tumkur and Bengaluru in Karnataka; Pune and Mumbai in Maharashtra; Tonk in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh capital Lucknow and Telangana capital Hyderabad, said sources.

“The outfit had allegedly anointed Mumbai resident - Mudabbir Mushtaq Shaikh as the chief or Ameer-a-Hind, Rizwan as deputy chief or Naib Ameer, Mangalore resident Najmul Huda as chief of military wing or Ameer-a-Askari and Hyderabad resident Mohammed Nafees Khan as head of their logistics wing,” said the investigator.

After arresting the first lot of 14 suspects, the NIA in a statement had said these individuals were planning and making efforts to establish a channel of procurement of explosive and weapons, identify locations to organize training camps including training of fire arms, motivate new recruits to target police officers, foreigners in India and to carry out terror plans in various parts of the country.

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