Maharashtra ATS arrests 9 planning big attack

Aurangabad: Nine persons, including a 17-year-old boy, have been arrested for their alleged links with ISIS terror outfit, the Maharashtra Police said on Wednesday and is probing whether they were planning to execute “mass killing” at a congregation by poisoning food or drink.

The ATS of the Maharashtra Police, which carried out the arrests is investigating all angles including whether the accused were planning to target the Kumbh Mela underway in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh or the Republic Day parade in the national capital, said a senior police officer.

Almost all the accused are well-qualified as out of nine, two are engineers, the third person is an engineering student while the fourth one is a pharmacist with good knowledge about chemicals. The fifth accused is a juvenile studying in class XI. They all operated from Mumbra and the Aurangabad.
The official informed that out of the nine accused, one is a son of Dawood Ibrahim’s close aide Rasheed Malbari, and he was arrested from Aurangabad.

Police claimed to have confiscated a huge cache of incriminating material from their possession including several chemical bottles, six pen drives, more than two dozen cell phones, over half a dozen laptops, six wi-fi pods, more than two dozens DVDs and CDs, a dozen of hard drives, more than half dozen memory cards, some internet dongles, few modems and more than a dozen RAMs. The chemicals seized have been sent to the laboratory for testing.

The Aurangabad district court has sent all accused under police custody till February 5.

The accused were reportedly in touch with someone from ISIS based outside India. The police are also investigating whether the arrested persons were connected to militant Islamic organisation, Popular Front of India (PFI).

ATS acted on the basis of information gathered after the surveillance and cyber watch.

Senior ATS official said that all the nine accused who have been arrested had formed an organisation named ‘Ummat-e-Ahmadiya’.

The Phrase Gazwa-e-Hind has been traced in their communications.

Further probe is underway.

Minister of State for Home Affairs in Maharashtra government Deepak Kasarkar said that those arrested will have to face the charges and the juvenile will be treated as per law.

“A lot of social engineering is required to be done to prevent youth from leaving the mainstream. Unemployed and desperate youth are soft target but I fail to understand why a well-educated youth is going into this,” he said.