In a significant development, the Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad (ATS) on Thursday arrested a 31-year old suspect from Parbhani who was in touch with handler of Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS) in Syria. Sources added he was getting ready for an “operation” when he was picked up the anti-terror agency’s Aurangabad unit.
ATS sources said they have arrested Naser Bin Yafai Chaus - a civil contractor from Parbhani, after it came to the fore that he was radicalized by foreign handlers of the ISIS and he was in touch with them using various chatrooms for the past one year. Sources added he had plans to cross over to Syria in order to fight for the ISIS there.
After the suspect was kept on ATS’s radar, they monitored him and ATS found that he was in touch with one Faroque from Syria for which he used various social mediums. He also created multiple ID’s to enter various chat rooms which the foreign handlers of the ISIS use.
The ATS investigations so far have also pointed at possibilities of Chaus preparing for an attack on the instructions of his foreign handlers. So far the ISIS has not managed to strike in the country and many of their modules have been busted by security agencies including state ATS and the National investigating agency (NIA). (See graphic)
After Chaus was arrested the ATS has filed a case under relevant sections of the Indian Penal code and under the sections of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), 1967. He has been remanded to police custody till July 20 by a local court in Aurangabad.
Police sources added Chaus was a college drop out and did some technical course later on. He lives in Parbhani along with his family.
Investigators are now looking into whether Chaus was a lone wolf operator or whether he had accomplices. Most of the ISIS modules busted in the past by security agencies in the country have pointed to them operating in small modules. ATS officials are now going through all the emails and other technical evidence to check if he has any associates.
Other ISIS cases:
- Malwani module case: The ATS busted the Malwani module in December, 2015, ATS registered a case against Ayaz Sultan of Malwani, currently last believed to be in Iraq under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), 1967. Two persons have been arrested.
- Shah Mudassir and Shoeb Ahmed Khan two youths from Maharashtra were allegedly brain washed by jihadis overseas using internet chat rooms. The two were arrested on October, 2014 by police in Hyderabad after they were in the process of trying to get passports to go to Afghanistan for weapons training
- In first week of November 2015, a Maulana from Pusad in Yavatmal district was arrested after it was found he allegedly radicalized four youths one of whom stabbed a police constable over ‘beef ban’ in September. Shoeb Khan who was earlier arrested by Hyderabad police has been arrested in this case as well
- A software techie Anees Ansari was arrested in mid-October 2014 by ATS for allegedly plotting to blow up an American school in BKC. Officials of ATS said that Ansari was inspired by Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Ansari has been watching videos and lectures of Syria and ISIS and also checking sites of making weapons. And as of now no terror link beyond chat rooms has been found
- Kalyan case, 2014: The four youth from Kalyan - Areeb Majeed, 22, an
engineer, Aman Tandel, 27, Fahad Maqbool Sheikh, 24, both engineering students and Shaheen Tanki, 25, a call centre employee- who went to Iraq reportedly to fight with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in May. Areeb returned back and the case is with NIA.