Gujarat ATS Arrests 3 For Alleged Al Qaeda Ties; Handler Based In Bangladesh

Gujarat ATS Arrests 3 For Alleged Al Qaeda Ties; Handler Based In Bangladesh

The officials are investigating the case to understand the motives of the arrested men, who have been booked under section 121 A of the IPC.

PTIUpdated: Tuesday, August 01, 2023, 06:44 PM IST
article-image
Gujarat ATS | File

The Gujarat Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) has arrested three persons for their alleged Al Qaeda links from Rajkot who were prima facie working for a Bangladeshi handler to radicalise others and recruit them for the banned terrorist organisation, an official said on Tuesday.

The trio hailed from West Bengal and worked at a gold market in Rajkot city, he said.

The ATS team had received a tip-off and kept a close watch on the suspects for the last three to four days before picking them up for questioning on Monday night, Superintendent of Police, ATS, Om Prakash Jat told reporters.

Weapons recovered

A country-made semi-automatic pistol, cartridges, radical literature, videos, and other materials were recovered from the accused, he said.

The accused trio used highly-encrypted messaging apps to keep in touch with their handler based in Bangladesh who instructed them to carry out different tasks, including radicalising others to join their cause, the official said.

"Shukra Ali, Shaif Nawaz and Aman Malik were detained yesterday and arrested. Nawaz has been in Rajkot for the last two years, while the other two have been here for the last seven to eight months. While the first two are from Bardhaman district, the third is from Hooghly," Jat said.

Handler based in Bangladesh

Their interrogation revealed that Malik has been using the Telegram app for the last one year to keep in touch with a foreign handler, who was the head of Al Qaeda in Bangladesh, the official said.

Malik was entrusted with the task of inspiring others to join the terrorist organisation, and he used two messaging apps to receive radical literature, videos, and training on how to use automatic weapons, he said.

The Bangladeshi handler inspired Malik for the cause of 'jihad' and 'hijrat' and asked him to inspire others to join their ideology.

The pistol was recovered from Malik's possession and it was not immediately clear as to how he intended to use it, the officer said, adding that that handler was to instruct him on how to use it.

Malik got in touch with Shukra Ali and Shaif Nawaz who shared the same fundamentalist mindset and agreed to work for the outfit, Jat said, adding that a probe is underway to find out who all had joined the accused and how the weapon had been procured.

"A country-made semi-automatic pistol, ten rounds of cartridges, five mobile phones with radical materials, encrypted messaging app, and other free messaging app and materials on how to use automatic and semi-automatic weapons were all recovered from the accused and the materials have been sent for forensic examination," the official said.

Motive being investigated

Videos, photos, and radical literature were found on the trio's mobile phones. The exact motive for receiving such materials and the deleted data is being investigated through forensic analysis, he said.

The trio has been arrested under section 121 A (conspiring to overawe, by means of criminal force or the show of criminal force, the central government or state government) of the Indian Penal Code and sections of the Arms Act, he said.

The police will also find out about their financial transactions, if any, through forensic analysis of their mobile phones, he said.

Earlier in May, the ATS busted an Al Qaeda module and arrested four members who hailed from Bangladesh but were living illegally in Ahmedabad. They were trained by their handlers based in Bangladesh before the quartet was sent to India.

RECENT STORIES

Haryana: Braj Mandal Jalabhishek Yatra Passes Off Peacefully In Nuh

Haryana: Braj Mandal Jalabhishek Yatra Passes Off Peacefully In Nuh

Chhattisgarh: '₹600 Crore Cryptocurrency Fraud Occurred,' Says Ex-MLA Vinay Jaiswal

Chhattisgarh: '₹600 Crore Cryptocurrency Fraud Occurred,' Says Ex-MLA Vinay Jaiswal

Chhattisgarh Proposes Inclusion Of Pabia, Pavia And Pav Caste In Scheduled Tribes List

Chhattisgarh Proposes Inclusion Of Pabia, Pavia And Pav Caste In Scheduled Tribes List

AIMTC's Budget Proposal 2024: Key Recommendations For Enhancing Road Transport Sector Viability

AIMTC's Budget Proposal 2024: Key Recommendations For Enhancing Road Transport Sector Viability

Union Budget 2024-25: Revitalizing Real Estate With Focus On Affordable Housing

Union Budget 2024-25: Revitalizing Real Estate With Focus On Affordable Housing