2 held for alleged links with ISIS; NIA probes IM role
The arrest of 33-year-old Mudabbir Shaikh from Amrut Nagar in Mumbra, on Thursday, by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), in coordination with Maharahtra anti-terrorism squad (ATS), has resulted in the central agency probing Indian Mujahideen (IM)’s role in recruiting fresh blood into the ranks of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).
Mohammed Hussein Khan, 36-year-old businessman from Mazgaon, was also arrested for his alleged links to the ISIS. According to sources, he is part of the all-India ISIS module that was busted by the NIA and other anti-terror agencies in the country during nation-wide crackdown on ISIS.
Shaikh, believed to be one of the main recruiters, was produced before an NIA court in Mumbai, where the agency sought for a transit remand to produce him before a court in Delhi, and was granted a three-day transit remand.
Late on Thursday, an ATS team and NIA officials raided Shaikh’s residence at Reshma Cooperative Housing Society in Mumbra, around 35 km away from Mumbai, and arrested him.
Shaikh’s mobile phone and laptop, which has incriminating documents, have been seized and will be sent for forensic examination, said police sources. Meanwhile, another suspect from Mumbai has been detained and his antecedents are being verified, they added.
Shaikh, a graduate and who holds a diploma in computer software, was unemployed and used to spend most of his time at home. He was active on social media through which he got in touch with an ISIS handler, who is believed to have brainwashed him, said police sources.
Shaikh came under radar after he allegedly tried to influence other people to join ISIS. “We believe he is one of the key recruiters in India,” said a police officer, close to the investigation, who did not wish to be named.
Investigators believe Shaikh was connected to the four people, including Ayaz Sultan and Mohsin Sayeed, who wanted to join the jihadi group, Islamic State (IS). They are looking for Shafi Armar, a resident of Bhatkal, who was named the amir (chief) of Ansar-ul-Tawhid, the recruiting arm of ISIS.