In a massive crackdown on the IS, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in co-ordination with the Maharashtra Police and ATS Maharashtra on Saturday arrested 15 operatives of the banned terror outfit during multiple raids across Maharashtra and Karnataka. Among the arrested include self-proclaimed leaders with assumed rights to administer ‘bayath’.
The NIA also recovered over Rs 68 lakh in cash, firearms, sharp-edged weapons, incriminating documents, smartphones, Hamas flags and other digital devices during the raids.
An agency spokesperson said that the NIA teams swooped down on as many as 44 locations in Padgha-Borivali, Thane, Mira Road and Pune in Maharashtra, and Bengaluru in Karnataka early Saturday morning, and apprehended 15 people accused of promoting terror and terror-related acts and activities of the proscribed organisation.
The official said that the accused, operating on the directions of their foreign handlers, had been actively involved in various terrorist activities, including fabrication of IEDs, for furthering the violent and destructive agenda of the IS. “Huge amounts of unaccounted cash, firearms, sharp-edged weapons, incriminating documents, smart phones and other digital devices were seized during the raids, conducted as part of NIA’s ongoing efforts to disrupt and demolish the attempts of the Islamic State to carry out violent acts of terror and take innocent lives,” the official said.
“The seizures included one pistol, two air guns, eight swords/knives, two laptops, six hard disks, three CDs, 38 mobile phones, 10 magazine books, Rs 68,03,800 in cash and 51 Hamas flags,” the official said.
NIA investigations have revealed that the accused, all members of IS Maharashtra module, were operating from Padgha-Borivali, where they had hatched the conspiracy to spread terror and violence across India.
Pursuing the path of violent Jihad, Khilafat, IS etc., the accused had aimed to disturb the peace and communal harmony of the country and to wage a war against the government.
The official said that its initial probe revealed that the arrested accused had self-declared the village of Padgha in rural Thane as a ‘liberated zone’ and as ‘Al Sham’.
“They were motivating impressionable Muslim youth to relocate in Padgha from their place of residence to strengthen the Padgha base,” the official said. “Mohammad Saquib Abdul Hamid Nachan a.k.a. Raveesh, the main accused and the self-declared leader of the arrested persons, had self-assumed the rights of administering ‘bayath’ (oath of alliance towards the Khalifa of IS) to the persons joining the proscribed organisation,” the official claimed.
The official said besides Nachan, others arrested during the crackdown on Saturday have been identified as Hasib Zuber Mulla a.k.a. Haseeb Zubair Mulla, Kashif Abdul Sattar Balere, Saif Ateeque Nachan, Rehan Ashfaque Suse, Shagaf Safiq Divkar, Firoz Dastagir Kuwari, Adil Iliyas Khot, Firoz Dastagir Kuwari, Adil Iliyas Khot, Musab Haseeb Mulla, Rafil Abdul Latif Nachan, Yahya Ravish Khot, Razil Abdul Latif Nachan, Farhan Ansar Suse, Mukhlis Maqbool Nachan and Munzir Abubakar Kunnathpeedikal.
All the accused originally hailed from Thane district of Maharashtra, the official said.
The official claimed that while Adil Khot was found in possession of the flags, the weapons (guns, knives and swords) were recovered from Firoz Dastagir Kuwan, Razil Abxul Nachan, Zeeshan Ajaz Mulla and Mukhlis Maqbool Nachan.
“The cash was seized from Saif Ateeque Nachan, Rehan Ashfaq Suse and Atif Nasir Mulla,” the official said.
The IS outfit has been spreading its terror network in India by putting in place localised modules across the country, the official said.
NIA took over the instant case on November 6 this year under various sections of the IPC, UA(P) Act and Explosive Substances Act, on the directions of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.
The case was previously being probed by the Special Cell of Delhi Police, following the arrest of three IS terrorists, Shahnawaz Alam, Mohammad Rizwan Ashraf and Mohammad Arshad Warsi, on the basis of credible source of information.
Since taking over the case, the NIA has undertaken strong and concerted actions to destroy the various IS modules and networks, the official added.
In the last few months, the NIA has conducted large-scale raids and busted different IS modules by arresting several terror operatives in the IS terror conspiracy case in a bid to scuttle the organisation’s heinous and violent anti-India agenda.