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JeM suspects, arrested by UP ATS from Deoband, had invited ‘special guest’ to hostel: Police

The duo, Shahnawaz Teli and Aquib Ahmad Malik, were arrested during the raid on the intervening night of Thursday and Friday, but the ‘special guest’ was found missing, said a UP ATS official.

india Updated: Feb 25, 2019 11:57 IST
Rohit K Singh
Rohit K Singh
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
JeM suspects arrested from deoband,UP ATS,jaish suspects
JeM suspects Shahnawaz Ahmed Teli (L) and Aqib Ahmad Malik , were arrested by the Uttar Pradesh Police ATS in Deoband, Friday 22, 2019. (PTI)

Two alleged Jaish-eMohammed (JeM) operatives, who were arrested during a raid by UP ATS at a hostel in Deoband town of Saharanpur on Thursday night, had organised party for a ‘special guest’ but he left before the crackdown, said senior police officials.

The duo, Shahnawaz Teli and Aquib Ahmad Malik, were arrested during the raid on the intervening night of Thursday and Friday, but the ‘special guest’ was found missing, said an ATS official.

“The mobile phone intercepts of the two suspects confirmed that they organised the party for the special guest and cooked chicken for him on Thursday evening. We hoped to find the special guest in their room and conducted a raid the same night, but he fled,” said the official. The phone intercepts also confirmed that Shahnawaz Teli drew money for the party from an ATM.

Inspector general (IG) of police, ATS, Asim Arun said the ATS had some inputs about unknown people visiting the rented room of the two accused. He said the duo was quizzed about people who visited their room in a Deoband hostel, but they feigned ignorance about them.

Another official assisting the investigation said the mobile intercepts of Shahnawaz, a resident of Pulwama (J&K), also revealed his conversation with some unknown caller in Kashmir after the attack on CRPF troops in Pulwama on February 14.

“Shahnawaz was heard stating that ‘Mann toh kar raha hai ki sabke sir kalam kar doon par abhi apna haath roka hua hoon’ (I feel like beheading them all, but holding myself back due to certain reasons). However, Shahnawaz denied uttering such words even after his intercepts were played before him during the interrogation,” said the officer.

He said the duo was allegedly camping in Deoband hostel with the intention to radicalise youths and recruit new members for the terror group. They stayed there posing as students of Islamic studies, but were not enrolled in any of the Islamic institutions in Deoband, said the official.

“The two operatives will also be quizzed about the recruitments and their links in Kashmir,” said the official, adding, “Shahnawaz and Aquib will be taken to their home towns in Pulwama and Kulgam, respectively with the possibility of recoveries of explosives and firearms hidden at their secret place.”

ATS officials had claimed to have recovered two .32 bore pistols, apparently supplied to the duo from across the border, and 30 cartridges from them after their arrest. The two suspects are in ATS custody for interrogation after a special ATS court in Lucknow granted their 10-day police custody remand.

IG Asim Arun said the two accused used a special application to have text and voice chats with their bosses. This application was similar to popular messaging apps, but wasn’t available on playstore.

“This special application is shared only among terror operatives to dodge Intelligence agencies. Conversation through such application is not easy to intercept,” he explained.

Director-general of police OP Singh interrogated the two alleged operatives for around four hours on Sunday.

ATS officials confirmed that the mobile handsets of the two accused contained several ‘jihadi’ chats and videos of top commanders of Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM). They said forensic experts were trying to retrieve even the deleted chats and videos from these phones.  

First Published: Feb 25, 2019 11:05 IST