The Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad (ATS), which on Thursday arrested a 31-year old from Parbhani for alleged links with Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS), is now checking if he planned to carry out a terror attack on the instructions of a foreign handler.
The Aurangabad unit of the ATS arrested Naser Bin Yafai Chaus, a civil contractor from Parbhani, after it emerged that he had allegedly been radicalised by foreign handlers of ISIS, with whom he had communicated through online chatrooms over the past year. According to an ATS source, he planned to travel to Syria to fight for ISIS.
Investigators initially kept tabs on him to see if he could lead them to others allegedly radicalised by the terror group. However, when he started to prepare for an operation, he was picked up the ATS, a source told HT.
The ATS has found that he had been in touch with a certain Faroque from Syria through various social media platforms. He had also created several IDs to enter various chat rooms used by ISIS members, according to ATS officials.
A source said the ATS is investigating whether he was a ‘lone wolf’ or had accomplices by examining his emails and other electronic communication. Most of the ISIS-related arrests in India have revealed the existence of small modules of about half-a-dozen young men.
Chaus has been booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.
Meanwhile, using information from Chaus’s questioning, the Pune unit of the ATS identified five college students from Kondhva who allegedly have links with ISIS. One of them is a foreign national.
Top ATS officials confirmed that the five are being questioned but said that no arrests have been made yet. A source said the five had been under surveillance for a few days. They lived in a rented flat in the Kausarbag area of Kondhva. ATS officials have also reportedly contacted their parents.