Delhi police on Sunday busted an organized gang of vehicle thieves and arrested one Showkat Ahmed Malla (25), a resident of Baramula, Kashmir and Mohammed Zubair (22) a resident of Shamli, Uttar Pradesh. However, further investigation into the matter has raised suspicions that the two arrested persons could have possible terror links especially ahead of the August 15 Independence Day celebrations.
As per a Print report, during investigations, the police found drone images and photos of alleged terror-accused on their mobile phones.
Videos of blasts and killings, allegedly from terror attacks, have also been found in the seized mobile phones during preliminary investigations.
“Showkat Ahmed, who hails from Jammu & Kashmir, has travelled to Delhi six times since June. Photos of the surveillance drones, that are also used for photography, have been recovered from their phones. Moreover, photos and videos of terrorists and terror attacks have also been found. The IB is working to check the details of the militants in these visuals, seen dressed in green jackets,” informed a senior police officer to Print.
Scars of unusual burn injuries on Showkat’s hand and a photo of a policeman killed by terrorists has raised further suspicion. The accused, however, claimed that the burn marks were caused during cooking and that the images and videos were just WhatsApp forwards.
The material and information recovered during the probe have raised alarms of possible terror threats in Delhi on the country’s Independence Day celebrations.
“Since the recovery of data from their mobile phones during primary investigation suggested a possible terror angle in the case, we have increased patrolling and surveillance in the capital region and all districts have been alerted ahead of I-Day,” said the senior officer.
Findings from the preliminary investigation
Hindustan Times reported that a team of Intelligence Bureau(IB) officials and the CID unit of Srinagar police reached Delhi to interrogate the two men early this week.
While interacting with HT, an officer on the condition of anonymity informed, “A team of CID officers from DIG CID unit of J&K police came yesterday (Monday). Separately, the IB officials also came and interrogated them. Some photographs found on the phones of the two men aroused suspicion so they had to be interrogated.”
“Though one cannot say it is linked to terror activities. They questioned the two men for their contacts. They will verify the information shared by the two men. There are some members of the gang, who are still believed to be hiding in the valley,” he added.
As part of the probe, a team of Delhi police arrived in Kashmir on Tuesday to find the associates of the two arrested. The police have launched a search operation for a man named, Wasim Sheikh, a resident of Baramulla. “Wasim is our main link in the case. He has come to Delhi on several occasions and has taken cars to Kashmir. Showkat learnt the trade from him. We will seek the assistance of J&K police to trace him,” added a second police officer.
According to the police information, Showkat also works as a civil contractor for the state government in Kashmir.
As per reports, the gang, to which Showkat and Zubair belong, has sold more than 100 vehicles to buyers in the Kashmir valley. Showkat reportedly flew to Delhi and drove the vehicles to Sopore in Kashmir’s Baramulla district, from where they were sent to other places.
Police said Showkat and Zubair, received the stolen vehicles from one Rinku who tampered with the chassis and engine numbers, changed the registration plate of the vehicle before handing it to Shaukat.
At least 100 registration number plates and 150 duplicate car keys from the two suspects have been recovered.
Jasmeet Singh, Deputy Commissioner of Police(central), whose team arrested the two alleged vehicle thieves, commented, “The investigation in the case is on. There are some missing links that we are trying to establish. We are probing who bought the stolen vehicles in Kashmir.”