The Kerala police have sought custody of the two suspects, who were arrested in Mumbai last week in connection with the case of missing 21 youngsters. In its remand report submitted to Ernakulam District Sessions Court, the police say that investigations have revealed that Arshi Quareshi, Rizvan Khan, who were arrested in Mumbai, and Bestin, one of the missing youngsters, hatched a plot to take Merrin, Bestin’s wife to Mumbai. The three were instrumental in converting her to Islam and recruiting her to the Islamic State, say the Kerala police.
While there has been much speculation over the missing youngsters, the remand report assumes significance as it is the first time the police or any official have admitted on record that there is an ISIS link to the case.
The police state that Merrin was converted to Islam at Juma Masjid of Bombay Trust.
The report notes that the complaint was filed by Ebin Jacob, brother of Merrin, while accused number one is Quareshi, accused number two is Bestin and Rizvan is the third accused. The investigation was carried out by Aluva DYSP, YR Rustam in several places in Mumbai including Kalyan Nagar. The police have recovered Quaresh’s mobile phone, his call records and his passport.
Twenty-four-year-old Bestin had worked in Peace International School in Kochi for some time and had then quit. His 22-year-old wife Merrin had left for Mumbai in May 2015 after getting placed with IBM. When she returned to Kerala in September 2015, she informed her family that she had converted to Islam, changing her name to Mirriam.
Merrin’s mother, Mini earlier told TNM, “Merrin and Bestin were friends in high school and they had an affair. But they fell apart after Bestin started eulogizing Islam. Merrin told me that Bestin (Eshia) came to Mumbai and convinced her that Islam was the best religion in the world and she had to convert. He used to take her to a friend’s (Ashfaq) house. The friend and his wife were instrumental in convincing my daughter.”
Merrin and Bestin had married sometime last year.
In December 2015, Bestin went away to Sri Lanka with his wife. “They returned in April and from then on they had been constantly travelling. They kept going to Hyderabad, Mumbai and Kasaragod. In May this year they told us they were leaving to Sri Lanka,” Elsi, Bestin’s mother had told TNM.
Bexen, Bestin’s older brother and his wife, Nimisha both converted to Islam and are also missing.