The National Investigation Agency (NIA) carried out searches at five places in Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra as part of its ongoing investigation to unravel a conspiracy hatched by global terror group Islamic State to expand its activities in India.
The searches were conducted by different teams at the houses of the suspected persons at four places in Seoni (Madhya Pradesh) and one location in Pune. The NIA teams searched the houses of suspects Talha Khan in Pune and Akram Khan in Seoni in the Islamic State-Khorasan Province (ISKP) case.
The NIA also carried out searches at three other locations in Seoni in the Shivamogga Islamic State conspiracy case. The places searched included the residential and commercial premises of suspects Abdul Aziz Salafi and Shoeb Khan.
The case was initially registered by Delhi Police special cell on March 8, 2020 after the arrest of a Kashmiri couple – Jahanzaib Sami Wani and his wife Hina Bashir Beigh – from Okhla Vihar in Jamia Nagar. “The couple were found to be affiliated with ISKP. During investigations, the role of another accused, Abdullah Basith, who was lodged in Tihar Jail in another case being investigated by the NIA, emerged.
According to the police, as part of a conspiracy hatched from abroad, the suspects – Mohamed Shariq, Maaz Muneer Khan, Yasin and others – based on instructions of their handler based abroad, targeted public and private properties belonging to members of a particular community and committed over 25 incidents of arson and sabotage.
The NIA officials stated that the accused even carried out a mock IED blast. They were being funded through crypto-currencies by their online handler. As part of the larger conspiracy, accused Shariq planned to carry out IED blast at Kadri temple, Mangalore on November 19 last year but the IED exploded prematurely through an accident, when the perpetrator was on way to the target location.
According to the spokesperson, Salafi (40) is a prayer leader at the Seoni Jamia Masjid, while Shoeb, 26, sells automobile spare parts. Salafi, along with his accomplice Shoeb, were found actively propagating pernicious ideas such as ‘voting in elections is sinful for Muslims’.
The group led by Salafi was in the process of radicalizing gullible Muslim youths of MP, Maharashtra and many southern states through provocative and inflammatory speeches on YouTube. They were also trying to bring together such radicalized individuals in Seoni district.
It has emerged that this group was collecting information about ongoing activities and events in different jihadi theatres, including Afghanistan. “Initial examination of the suspects have brought out the fact that they are radically motivated individuals, who totally abhor the idea of democracy in India, and were preparing for carrying out jihad against the people who believe otherwise, officials added.