Days after the National Investigation Agency's (NIA) conducted raids across 44 sites in Maharashtra and Karnataka, resulting in the arrest of 15 members of the prohibited terrorist group ISIS in India, the central intelligence agencies are now pursuing a Northern Railways government employee.
The railway employee had allegedly submitted forged medical bills to provide financial support to the terror module.
The investigation module was busted on 9 December following leads acquired by NIA investigators during their inquiry into three alleged ISIS operatives' activities.
Shahnawaz Alam, Mohammad Rizwan Ashraf, and Mohammad Arshad Warsi were detained by the Special Cell of Delhi Police in October.
The NIA had taken over the probe in November on the directions of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.
During investigation, bank details of the three alleged ISIS operatives and their associates were scanned leading to the detection of a common pattern.
“While scanning their accounts, they found a common source from which money was regularly coming to their accounts. After further investigation and questioning of the arrested persons, it emerged that a man who lived in Noida and worked as a clerk in the financial department of the Northern Railways was in constant touch with the operatives. It was found that they had allegedly radicalised him,” an intelligence officer was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.
At present, the clerk is absconding and multiple agencies are searching for him.
The Railways clerk had filed several forged medical bills and put the account numbers of alleged ISIS operatives into which the money would be deposited.
The Northern Railways reported an internal fraud case to the Parliament Street Police Station in Delhi, seeking to file an FIR against a particular clerk. However, they made no mention of any connection between the clerk and alleged ISIS terrorists, according to the source.
The NIA has reported the arrest of 15 ISIS operatives, all of whom hail from the Thane district in Maharashtra.
The NIA states that the group was led by 63-year-old Saquib Nachan, the primary suspect.
Nachan is alleged to have administered the oath of allegiance to young recruits joining the terrorist group.
According to the NIA, this group was in planning to carry out terrorist activities across the nation.
“The investigations have revealed that the accused, all members of ISIS Maharashtra module, were operating from Padgha-Borivali, where they had hatched the conspiracy to spread terror and carry out acts of violence across India. Pursuing the path of violent jihad, Khilafat, ISIS etc, the accused had aimed to disturb the peace and communal harmony of the country and wage a war against the Government of India,” the NIA said in a statement.
Security agencies had been monitoring Nachan since the 1990s. He was implicated in over a dozen terrorism cases and found guilty on two occasions.
The Supreme Court convicted him in 1997 for planning terror attacks in the early 1990s along with with Khalistani terrorists. In addition, he was charged in the 2002-03 Mumbai bombings and was again convicted in 2016 for a decade by a Mumbai court under the Arms Act. After serving both sentences, he was set free in 2017.
Earlier, his son Shamil Nachan was arrested by the NIA in the Maharashtra ISIS module related terror case.
Kuldeep is Senior Editor (Newsroom) at Swarajya. He tweets at @kaydnegi.
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