Mohammed Zubair, who graduated in engineering from a private college in Hyderabad, was convicted in the US for financing Al Qaeda.

File photo of Mohammad Ibrahim Zubair, who was convicted in the US for links to Al Qaeda
news Law and Order Saturday, May 23, 2020 - 10:01

The Telangana police are piecing together information about an engineering graduate from Hyderabad, F

Intelligence officials were digging out information about the 40-year-old's family background and his possible links in the city.

Zubair along with 167 other Indian deportees was brought to Amritsar by a special flight. He has been quarantined at a centre in Amritsar.

Though Zubair has no case against him in India, central agencies may proceed against him after he completes his quarantine. They are likely to question him about the Al Qaeda network and his links in the country.

He may also be brought to Hyderabad as part of the investigation. Sources in the Telangana police said they may also question the man about his links in the city and to know if he or any of his known contacts was involved in any Al Qaeda related activity in the state.

There is not much information available about the family of Zubair, who is said to have been born in Sharjah and graduated in engineering from a private college in Hyderabad in late 1990s.

Sources said the police were gathering information about the college he graduated from and the place where he lived during his stay in Hyderabad.

After the graduation in Hyderabad, he left for Sharjah and from there went to the US to join his brother, Yahya Farooq Mohammad, and pursue higher studies.

"Ibrahim Mohammad (Zubair), an Indian citizen, studied engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign from 2001 through 2005. In or around 2006, he moved to Toledo, Ohio, and married a US citizen. He became a lawful permanent resident of the United States around 2007," the US Justice Department said in a press release in 2018.

Zubair, his brother and two others were arrested in 2011 on charges of terror financing. He was convicted for raising money for Al Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki, who was designated a terrorist by the US in 2009 and killed in a drone strike in 2011 in Yemen.

He pleaded guilty in 2018 and was sentenced in 2019 to 60 months in prison, which was later decreased to 30 months, to take into account the time he spent in jail while awaiting trial. He completed his term early this year and was released on February 7. He was deported as per the sentence pronounced by the court.

According to an order of the US District court for the Northern district of Ohio, Zubair along with his brother and two others "did knowingly and intentionally provide material support and resources...including currency and monetary instruments, knowing and intending that they were to be used in preparation for, and in carrying out, violations" of US laws.

Citing his role in the terror funding, the US Justice Department said that Zubair exchanged several mails between 2005 and 2009 with his brother, about the funds and the 'jihad' against the US.

The two discussed 'jihad' in detail over 50-60 mails exchanged between them during 2005 to 2009.

The US Justice Department also stated that Zubair joined the terrorist organisation after watching videos of al-Awlaki. And on directions of his brother, he received money from two Pakistani associates -- Sultan Salim and Asif Salim -- and deposited it into his brother's accounts.

Farooq had travelled with two other persons to Yemen in 2009 to meet Awlaki but they were unsuccessful. He travelled to Sana'a to meet one of his associates where they gave him approximately $22,000 to be given to Awlaki. Zubair facilitated the transfer of the money to his brother overseas for him to take to Awlaki.

Farooq pleaded guilty to providing and concealing material support to terrorists after being detained by the FBI in 2015 and has been incarcerated ever since. Also convicted for hiring a hitman to kill a judge presiding over a terror case, he was sentenced to over 27 years in prison.

Read: US deports convicted Al Qaeda operative to India

IANS inputs