Delhi Police arrests suspected ISIS terrorist Shahnawaz in major breakthrough

Oct 02, 2023 09:37 AM IST

Delhi Police apprehend NIA's most wanted terrorist Shahnawaz, wanted in Pune ISIS case.

In a major breakthrough, the Delhi Police Special Cell apprehended Shahnawaz alias Shafi Uzzama, the National Investigation Agency's (NIA) most wanted terrorist. Shahnawaz, who had a reward of 3 lakhs on his head, was wanted in connection with the Pune ISIS case.

Mohammad Shahnawaz, alias Shafiuzzama Alam.
Mohammad Shahnawaz, alias Shafiuzzama Alam.

The 32-year-old engineer by profession and resident of Delhi had managed to escape from Pune police custody, triggering a massive manhunt that spanned several states.

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Delhi Police Special Cell officials have also detained two other individuals in connection with the case. Details about these detainees are yet to be disclosed.

Police said that the module was planning to carry out terror incidents in North India and was taking instructions from foreign-based handlers.

“Incriminating materials were recovered including materials suspected to be used for IED fabrication,” ANI quoted the police as saying.

The arrest of Shafi Uzzama is part of the NIA's ongoing efforts to apprehend individuals linked to the Pune ISIS module case. The NIA had earlier released pictures of four terror suspects wanted in connection with this case and declared a reward of 3 lakh each for credible information leading to their arrest.

Shafi Uzzama, along with Talha Liyakat Khan, Rizwan Abdul Haji Ali and Abdulla Faiyaz Shaikh alias Daiperwala, was the subject of an extensive nationwide manhunt.

What is Pune ISIS module case

Shahnawaz and two others, Mohammad Imran Mohammad Yunus Khan and Mohammad Yunus Mohammad Yakub Saki, were arrested by the Kothrud police in Pune on July 18 following their attempted theft of a two-wheeler. When the police were taking them to their residence at Kondhwa in Pune for a search, Shahnawaz jumped out of the police vehicle and managed to escape.

Police found that Khan and Saki, originally hailing from Ratlam in Madhya Pradesh, were allegedly involved in a separate terror case registered in Rajasthan, where explosives were discovered in a car in March 2022. Both Khan and Saki carried a bounty of 5 lakh each on their heads.

The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) took over the investigation on July 22. During the course of their inquiry, the ATS arrested additional suspects, including Qadir Dastagir Pathan, an IT engineer, and SN Kazi, at Kondhwa. The agency invoked sections of the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against Khan, Saki, and other accused.

The investigation took a critical turn when Khan and Saki revealed that Shahnawaz had stored acid at Bopatghat near Kondhwa. The NIA sought the assistance of the Bomb Disposal and Detection Squad to seize the acid along with various chemicals used in bomb-making.

ATS also seized several other materials and found 500 GB data in the laptops and mobile phones of the accused which contained links to YouTube videos on making bombs and Google images of various places.

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