After Areeb Majeed, one of the Kalyan men who left home to allegedly join the ISIS returned to India, another of the four, Fahad Sheikh, has contacted his friends and is also in touch with National Investigation Agency (NIA) officers, sources in the agency said.
Sheikh has been talking to three of his friends and some family members on the phone and through social networking sites, said NIA officers.
Recently, the friends informed them about the conversations, after which they, too, spoke to Sheikh.
“We have told them to continue talking to Sheikh and gather information,” said an NIA officer, on condition of anonymity. “Whenever we urge him to return to India, Shaikh disconnects the call. We know he is in Iraq, but have not been able to trace the exact location,” he said.
In May 2014, four young men from Kalyan – Areeb Majeed, Fahad Sheikh, Aman Tandel and Shahim Tanki – left home for Baghdad as part of a pilgrimage, and then allegedly joined the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Around a week ago, Sheikh told his family members Tanki died a month ago, while he and Tandel are safe in Iraq. “He also shared this information with NIA officers over the phone,” said the officer.
“When we asked him for proof of Tanki’s death, he said we were free to disbelieve him. However, he then sent us a picture, which he said was of Tanki’s body,” he said.
Tanki’s family has refused to believe the news. Incidentally, Tanki was the one who had called his family to report Majeed’s death, who later returned to India.
“More than six months ago, we had heard of Majeed’s death, but then he returned home safely. So, we refuse to believe this news,” said a relative of Tanki.
On March 20, HT had reported that three men of Indian origin — Abdul Rehman al Nadvi Al Hindi, Shaheem Tanki and Abu Abdullah al Hindi — were reportedly killed in Syria’s Kobane region in late February.
Majeed, who returned to Mumbai in the last week of November from Turkey, is presently in the Arthur road jail. NIA officers have registered a case against him
and investigations are underway. They will soon produce a charge sheet in the court, officers said.