In a major crackdown, the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) today said defused a major terror strike plot. It has arrested nine people 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.
The ATS claimed it had “very reliable input” about a group aligned with the ISIS and put the suspects under surveillance for several weeks.
“When it was revealed that the group is likely to carry out terror acts, the ATS formed about a dozen teams and carried out searches and seizures at five different locations in Mumbra, Thane and Aurangabad simultaneously during the intervening night and early morning of 22 January,” he said.
The ATS seized chemicals, powder, mobile phones, hard drives, SIM cards, acid bottle, knives etc during the raids, he said. A case under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act has been registered and further investigation is in progress.
According to ATS officials, three of the nine – Salman, Mohseen and Taki – are brothers, and were influenced by ISIS sympathisers and were given task to radicalise others to join ISIS. Mohseen, the eldest of the trio, was monitoring every member from Mumbra and was connected with propaganda module of ISIS and was head of the local module.