In a major breakthrough for the Mumbai police, Mohammed Haneef, believed to be a maulana or priest, who was wanted for indoctrinating and persuading Muslim youths to join ISIS, was arrested from Peringathoor in the Kannur district of Kerala on Friday night.
A police team is expected to board an early Sunday morning fligh to bring Haneef to Mumbai. Haneef will be produced before a holiday court. Haneef was arrested by a team of Mumbai police, led by senior police inspector Vinayak Ghorpade, from the crime intelligence unit of the Mumbai crime branch, said a top Kerala police officer, requesting anonymity.
Haneef is among the accused wanted in a case registered under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), where Arshi Qureshi, an employee of the Dr Zakir Naik-run Islamic Research Foundation, and Rizwan Khan has been booked.
One more accused Rashid Abdulla is believed to have left the country and believed to have joined ISIS. Haneef is alleged to have radicalised 21 youngsters from Kerala, who are feared to have joined terror outfit Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS).
Haneef is the first person to be arrested by the Mumbai police in the case. The Mumbai crime branch was on the lookout for Haneef after 60-year-old Abdul Majeed Kadar Khan lodged a case with the Nagpada police station stating his son Ashfaque , one of the 21 youths who went missing from Kerala a month ago, was also indoctrinated by Haneef.
In the Nagpada case, the complainant also claimed that Ashfaque had been meeting Haneef at his native place in Kasaragod district, where the indoctrination took place. Haneef allegedly introduced Ashfaque to Qureshi and Rizwan Khan and the trio met several times in Kerala and also in Mumbai at the IRF office in Dongri.
The crime branch then asked their counterparts in Kerala to track down Haneef as he was stated to be based there and he was found in Peringathoor. The officials said that Haneef, a native of Kambalakkad in Wayanad district, was in hiding after he was named in the FIR by Mumbai police.