The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) has placed 9 men suspected of having links with the Islamic State terror group under arrest, including the son of an underworld shooter associated with the D-Company gang. Authorities are now investigating if the module was possibly planning a mass poisoning attack on devotees attending the Kumbh Mela at Prayagraj, reports India Today.
The terror suspects, who are engineers and pharmacists, belong to Thane and Aurangabad and were believed to be gearing to get into action. The group of nine men had been under observation by the ATS for the past several weeks following intelligence inputs.
One of the members of the group, which called itself ‘Ummat-e-Mohammadia’, is Mazhar Malabari, who is the son of notorious D-Company shooter Rashid Malabari. Another one of the terror suspects was believed to be in direct contact with Islamic State handlers abroad.
Authorities suspect that the group may have been plotting mass poisoning attacks, quite possibly targeting the ongoing Kumbh Mela. They were already testing various chemical mixtures to find out an effective combination to attack large public gatherings. They were reportedly also in the process of collecting explosive materials.
As per DNA, during searches, sharp knives, acid bottles, sim cards, as well as chemicals, including a bottle labelled Hydrogen Peroxide, were recovered from the group. The chemicals are being tested at labs to figure out their exact composition.
The searches were conducted by the ATS in Amrut Nagar, Kausa, Moti Baug and Almas Colony areas of Thane's Mumbra township and in Kaisar Colony in Aurangabad. The youth were rounded up over the last two days by the authorities.
The arrested persons are accused under the Indian Penal Code’s Section 120 (B) which deals with criminal conspiracy and under certain provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), as well as the Bombay Police Act.