NIA arrests Al-Qaeda operative from Bengal’s Murshidabad
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) authorities have arrested Samim Ansari, a resident of West Bengal’s Jalangi village in Murshidabad district, in connection with a probe into a suspected Al-Qaeda module operating in the state, officials said on Sunday.
Ansari was arrested with the help of West Bengal Police’s Special Task Force (STF) from his residence on Saturday and was produced the same day before the chief judicial magistrate, Murshidabad, for transit remand .
On September 19, NIA teams had conducted simultaneous raids at several locations in central Kerala’s Ernakulam and Bengal’s Murshidabad districts and arrested nine men allegedly associated with a Pakistan-sponsored module of Al-Qaeda.
Ansari’s wife Chandtara Bibi said that her husband was innocent. “He used to work as a construction labourer in Kerala until a year and a half ago. He came back home and started selling vegetables at a local market. He had no connection with any terror outfit. He has been framed,” she said.
NIA officials said Ansari would be taken to Delhi for interrogation alongside the nine others. “We have found his involvement with those arrested earlier. We have seized his mobile phone. He is being interrogated,” a senior official said.
Earlier, the three men arrested in Kerala were identified as Murshid Hasan, Iyakub Biswas and Mosaraf Hossen while Najmus Sakib, Abu Sufiyan, Mainul Mondal, Leu Yean Ahmed, Al Mamun Kamal and Atitur Rehman were arrested from Murshidabad district.
Ansari was a friend of Kamal’s, STF officers said.
NIA authorities said they came to know about an inter-state module of Al-Qaeda operatives at various locations in India, including Bengal and Kerala. The group was planning to carry out terrorist attacks in Delhi and at vital installations in the country in a bid to kill innocent people, the agency said.
NIA authorities are trying to ascertain if the arrested men were recruiting people from other districts in Bengal, especially Birbhum, where gelatin sticks stolen from stone quarries were smuggled in large quantities in recent years.
NIA officials said incriminating materials such as digital devices, documents, literature, weapons, country-made firearms, a locally fabricated body armour, articles and literature on making home-made explosive devices were seized from the arrested men.
(With PTI inputs)