Football coach, cyber expert, engineers allegedly ran the ISIS module busted by ATS

Updated on Jan 23, 2019 01:08 PM IST

A teenager is among the nine men arrested for alleged terror links from Maharashtra’s Mumbra, Thane and Aurangabad on Tuesday. The arrests came during the course the ATS’s investigation into the presence of sleeper cells ahead of the Republic Day.

The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Force has busted an alleged ISIS module in Maharashtra.(HT file photo)
The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Force has busted an alleged ISIS module in Maharashtra.(HT file photo)
Hindustan Times, Mumbai | ByManish K Pathak

Among those arrested from Maharashtra for alleged ISIS links are a football coach, a computer engineer, a civil engineer and a cyber expert, state ATS officials said.

A teenager is among the nine men arrested for alleged terror links from Maharashtra’s Mumbra, Thane and Aurangabad on Tuesday. The arrests came during the course the ATS’s investigation into the presence of sleeper cells ahead of the Republic Day.

Among those arrested are Salman Khan, Fahad Shah, Zamen Kutepadi, Mohseen Khan, Mohammad Mazhar Shaikh, Taki Khan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Zahid Shaikh and a 17-year-old (name withheld as he is a minor).

According to the ATS, the module was run by three brothers from Mumbra -- Salman, Mohseen and Taki. They used to identify, get in touch, and radicalize youths. Their hunt for recruits started in mosques.

The three were allegedly influenced by ISIS sympathisers and were given the task to radicalise others to join the terror group. Mohseen, the eldest brother, was monitoring members from Mumbra and was head of the propaganda module of the ISIS, the officials said.

Each member had specific task. Salman, who used to be a football coach in Mumbra area, shifted to Aurangabaad a year ago and was given the task of identifying youth who could be radicalized in Aurangabaad and other districts, the official added. “He used to visit Mumbra often and update Mohseen about other youths in Aurangabaad. During Ramadan and Islamic festival Salman used to visit mosques and identify youth, influence them and the arrange their meeting with his brother Mohseen. Taki used to help both his brothers,” the ATS official added.

Another accused Mohammad Mazhar Shaikh, who worked in private firm in Bhiwandi as computer engineer, met Mohseen and Salman during Ramadan in a mosque at Mumbra few months ago.

Following a tip off, intelligence agencies were keeping tabs on Mohseen and Mazhar. Mohseen left for Aurangabad three days ago and was picked by the ATS official. On Monday evening, Mazhar was arrested. Bothe were taken to Aurangabaad for questioning.

Fahad Shah, a civil engineer, came in touch with Salman during Ramadan at a mosque in Mumbra area and after that they were in regular touch and often visited Aurangabaad together. The 17-year-old accused was one of the youth radicalised by the three brothers. He has a diploma in electronic and cyber science.

Zamen Kuttepadi worked as Medical representative (MR) in Mumbra and Thane. He had very good knowledge of chemicals and this was one of the reasons for his recruitment, the ATS said.

Another accused Sarfaraz Ahmed is a resident of Aurangabaad and a brother in-law of Mohseen. ATS source said he was helping Salman to identify youths in mosque and radicalise them.

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