The Delhi Police apprehended Shahnawaz, also known as Shafi Uzzama, a suspected member of the Islamic State (ISIS) and a prime target on the National Investigation Agency's (NIA) most-wanted list. The arrest transpired during a large-scale anti-terror operation conducted by the Delhi Police.
Who is Shahnawaz alias Shafi Uzzama?
Shafi Uzzama, who had been evading law enforcement, was the subject of an intensive manhunt. Last month, the NIA had issued his photograph and announced a reward of Rs 3 lakhs for information leading to his capture. He was specifically wanted in connection with the Pune ISIS case. Three other individuals involved in the case were identified as Talha Liyakat Khan from Pune, and Rizwan Abdul Haji Ali and Abdulla Faiyaz Shaikh alias Daiperwala, both hailing from Delhi.
Shafi Uzzama, a mining engineer residing in Delhi, had managed to escape from Pune police custody earlier and had been hiding in the national capital.
Details surrounding Shafi Uzzama's involvement revealed that he was residing with the masterminds of the ISIS Ratlam module, Imran, and Yunus, in a rented flat at Meethanagar in Kondhwa, Pune. His escape from police custody occurred during a house search in Pune.
Upon questioning the arrested individuals, it was discovered that Khan and Saki, the associates of Shafi Uzzama, were from Ratlam in Madhya Pradesh and were allegedly involved in a terror case registered in Rajasthan. The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) took charge of the investigation and subsequently handed it over to the NIA.
Group planned terror operations in Maharashtra
During the course of their probe, law enforcement agencies found evidence pointing to a foreign-based handler who had possibly orchestrated the connection between Shafi Uzzama and the local operatives. The group had planned to execute a terror strike, and the investigations revealed their activities in various locations, including Kolhapur, Sangli, and Satara.
Additionally, the NIA uncovered a trove of digital materials, including videos on bomb-making and Google images of potential targets, stored in laptops and mobile phones belonging to the arrested individuals. The arrest of two more suspects in Thane district, Aakif Ateeque Nachan and Zulfikar Ali Barodawala, further deepened the complexity of the case.
The arrest of Shafi Uzzama marks a significant milestone in the fight against terrorism, underlining the relentless efforts of law enforcement agencies to ensure the safety and security of the nation. Further investigation is ongoing, stated the Delhi Police authorities.