The National Investigation Agency has apprehended 14 men from Tamil Nadu who were deported from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), over alleged efforts to collect funds for terror activities. The group, according to NIA sources, consisted of members from pro-ISIS and pro-Al-Qaeda groups, seeking to establish Islamic rule in India.
On Monday, the 14 accused who were within the age group of 26 to 38, were produced before special judge P. Chenthoor Pandi at an NIA court in Chennai and remanded to judicial custody. They were lodged at the Puzhal Central Prison on the same evening. They were brought to New Delhi on Sunday from UAE. The arrested men belong to various parts of Tamil Nadu including Chennai, Nagapattinam, Ramanathapuram and Tiruvarur.
"They had been held by UAE officials over two months ago and were then handed over to India," says Special Public Prosecutor C.S. Pillai. "Officials there have themselves identified that this group was working towards funding of terror activities in India. There were planning a wage a war against the nation," he adds.
According to NIA sources,UAE authorities identified illegal transactions and traced it to the accused.
According to portions of the FIR, which TNM has accessed, the arrests were made after the NIA received credible information that 'a group of pro-ISIS and Al-Qaeda organisation variously called as Wahadat-E-Islami, Jamaat Whadat-ui-Islam-al-Jihadiya, Jihadist Islamic Unit and Ansarallah have been formed to establish Islamic rule in India by resorting to violent Jihad'.
The 14 accused from UAE named in the FIR include - Mohammed Sheik, Mohhamed Azharuddin, Thoufik Ahamed, Mohammed Aksar, Moideen Seeni Shahul Hameed, Mohammed Ibrahim, Meeran Kani, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Rafi Ahmed, Munthapseer, Umar Farooq, Farooq, Faisal Sherif and Mohammed Ibrahim.
Based on information of the groupâ€™s suspicious activities in UAE, the NIA conducted searches at Nagapattinam district, at the residences of 28-year-old Hassan Ali and 32-year-old Harish Mohamed. The office and residences of Wahdat-e-Islami (WEI) Tamil Nadu leader Syed Mohammed Bukhari, in Chennai, was also searched by NIA officials. In the past, despite multiple allegation of terror links, WEI has maintained that it is a purely religious organisation. The 14 accused men from UAE are however, allegedly members of WEI.
The teams seized nine mobile phones, 15 SIM cards, seven memory cards, six pen drives, five hard discs, three laptops, three CDs , two tablets and documents including magazines, banners, notices, posters and books from the four locations. It is unclear what incriminating evidence was found on these things seized.
Syed Bukhari, Hassan and Harish were all booked by the NIA under sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 121A (conspiring to commit certain offences against the State and 122 (collecting arms with intention of waging war against India) of IPC and provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act
However, curiously while Hassan and Harish were arrested, Syed Bukhari wasnâ€™t.
"Hasan Ali Yunusmarciar, Syed Bukhari, his associate Mohammed Yusuffudeen Harish Mohamed and others are conspiring to carry out terror attacks in various parts of India,â€ť reads the FIR. â€śAs per the available information, Hasan Ali is an ISIS operative and he is actively recruiting individuals to strike terror in India and is also routinely posting videos exhorting his supporters to conduct terrorist attacks by using various methods which include procuring explosives, poison, knives and vehicles as means of weapons.â€ť