Mumbai, January 23: Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) arrested nine men including a juvenile from Mumbra, Thane and Aurangabad for alleged links with the ISIS. The arrests came during the course of an investigation into the presence of sleeper cells ahead of 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. Three of the men are brothers who main task was to recruit and radicalise young men. According to the police, all the individuals arrested are aged between 17 and 35 years.
Mohammad Mazhar Shaikh who worked in private firm in Bhiwandi as a computer engineer met Mohseen and Salman during Ramadan in a mosque at Mumbra last year. Mohseen left three days ago for Aurangabaad and was picked by the ATS official. On Monday evening Mazhar was nabbed in Mumbra when he boarded a bus for Aurangabaad.
Fahad Shah, a civil engineer, got in touch with Salman during Ramadan at a mosque in Mumbra area and after that they were in regular touch and often visited together in Aurangabaad. He also had a visa for Saudi Arabia. The ATS claimed that Salman had radicalised Fahad.
ATS officials also picked up a minor boy from Mumbra who they said had also been radicalised. He is said to have to have completed a diploma in electronics and cyber science. Zamen Kuttepadi who worked as medical representative has very good knowledge about chemicals and Mohseen allegedly recruited him for any possible chemical attack and logistic support, the ATS said.
Another suspect Sarfaraz Ahmed was helped Salman in identifying youths in mosques and radicalise them, it added. ATS officials said they were checking whatsapp chats and mails of the suspects who had deleted several chats from whatsapp and snapchat. The accused had also taken subscription of dark net and used to chat with each other, officials said.
ATS also seized certain chemicals, powder, mobile phones, hard drives, SIM cards, acid bottle, and sharp knives.