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Maharashtra ISIS module: How ‘Educated’ radicals with good jobs wanted to spread terrorism in India, NIA chargesheet reveals

One of the terrorists named Tabish Siddiqui visited Kupwara in J&K in 2018. He sent an email to ISIS to update the latter on the situation in Kashmir and elaborated to them the plan to establish ISIS in Kashmir

Shocking details have been revealed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in its charge sheet filed against six ISIS terrorists. The 4000-page charge sheet has been filed in the court of NIA Special Judge AK Lahoti.

In the charge sheet based on statements of 16 witnesses, the NIA detailed the activities of six arrested ISIS terrorists namely Tabish Siddiqui, Zulfikar Ali Barodawala, Sharjeel Shaikh, Aakif Nachan, Zubair Shaikh and Dr Adnanali Sarkar.

All six were arrested during NIA’s crackdown at different days on the Maharashtra ISIS module operating in Pune and Thane.

Accused are well-educated, had plush jobs & are “technically sound”

According to the charge sheet, the arrested terrorists are “technically sound”. Two of them were employed at senior positions in corporate firms.

Barodawala worked as a senior project manage in a multinational company with an annual package of Rs 31 lakh, Zubair Shaikh worked as a senior associate, technology angular on RPA (Robotics Process Automation) with a tech-based company. Sharjeel worked as a retainer in an IT firm.

This detail bears a scary resemblance to arrests made in the Hizb-u-Tahrir terror case too. Of the over 10 terrorists arrested by the Madhya Pradesh anti-terror squad (ATS), one was a gym trainer, a teacher, an auto driver, tailor, computer technician, businessman and software engineer.

Tabish Siddiqui

In 2015, Tabish came in contact with Barodawala. As per the charge sheet, the NIA first found access to an ISIS email ID was through the ISIS magazine.

Tabish sent an email to the terrorist group on 31st July 2016. On 25th February 2017, a reply was received that read, “good job update your contact details number and address we will be in touch.”

Between 2015 and 2017-18, Tabish and Barodawala had many meetings. They later took “Bayath” (pledge of allegiance) towards the Khalifa of ISIS.

ISIS eyeing Kashmir

The NIA has said that Tabish (33) visited Kupwara in Jammu and Kashmir in 2018 and stayed there for a week. Tabish sent an email to ISIS to update the latter on the situation in Kashmir and elaborated to them the plan to establish ISIS in Kashmir.

“Do It Yourself (DIY)” kits

Tabish, as per the NIA charge sheet, had shared a PDF file of a “do it yourself (DIY)” kit titled “efficincy pdf” with an email ID belonging to ISIS.

Tabish shared information on how to achieve the efficient intensity for a particular volume of white powder or any good explosive substance.

“Tabish was using virtual number and Virtual Private Network (VPN) for communication with co-accused and Islamic State contacts on Telegram, WhatsApp etc,” the NIA said.

Tabish also sent ISIS content to his contacts through Telegram app and Facebook messenger. He was in touch with his ISIS handlers including a “Formula One” from February 2023.

Tabish had plans to travel to join ISIS. He had reporedly prepared content and Urdu translations for publication in a magazine run by ISIS.

Another piece of content titled “Istishadi Operation” was prepared claiming that it denotes a suicide operation. His targets were mostly gullible Muslims.

Terrorist magazines including “Voice of Hind” and “Voice of Khurasan” were also recovered from the arrested accused.

Several meetings held to hatch violent conspiracies

As per the NIA, the accused planned to commit terrorist activities across India in support of ISIS. Meetings were held for this purpose in Padgha-Borivali of Thane district between 2021-22.

The NIA said, “It is evident from the statement of witness that accused A-2, A-4 and A-6 (Zulfikar Barodawala, Sharjeel Shaikh and Akif Nachan) and others (including Shamil Nachan, who is accused in another NIA case) had several meetings in Chhoti Masjid, Padgha-Borivali, wherein they used to plan recruitment of gullible Muslim youth for the Islamic State (ISIS), furthering the activities of Islamic State propagating the ideology of Daesh i.e. ISIS and to carry out violent jihad on the land of Al-Sham.”

Investigations have reportedly exposed a complex web of individuals committed to propagate the extremist and violent ISIS ideology in India. The accused intended to strike fear among the people of India.

Funds were also being raised and the accused were recruiting and training some youth to make IEDs and small arms.

Poor youth targeted to make them join ISIS

One of the most sensational arrests in the Pune ISIS module case was that of Dr. Adnan Ali Sarkar, who was a practicing anaesthesiologist.

He was arrested on 27th July 2023 after an NIA team conducted a raid at his Kondhwa residence in Pune, just weeks after the arrest of Tabish Nasser Siddiqui of Mumbai, Zubair Noor Mohammed Shaikh alias Abu Nusaiba of Pune, and Sharjeel Shaikh and Zulfikar Ali Barodawala of Thane.

Documents recovered from his flats revealed that Adnan was recruiting vulnerable youths. It had details of linking poor youth with terrorist organisations.

Was the Jewish Community Center on target?

Photographs of Jewish Community Center in Mumbai were recovered from four accused exposing that Jews in India were also under the target of Islamic Sate.

Security of Chabad House in Colaba was increased by the Mumbai Police. The Chabad House was one of the targets attacked in he 26/11 terror attack.

The terrorists intended to conduct aerial blasts through drones, conducted mock bomb blasts

One of the most shocking revelations is that the terrorists conducted bomb blast tests in the forests of Pune, Kolhapur and Satara. They lived in tents in the forest and learned the technique of aerial blast through drones.

The web of the Pune ISIS module case

In July 2023, the Pune Police arrested Shahnawaz and two people from MP, Mohammad Imran Khan and Mohammad Saki in connection with the theft of a two-wheeler in Pune. Shahnawaz managed to escape.

Further probe revealed a larger Pune ISIS terror module case. Three terrorists namely Talha Liaquat Khan of Pune and Rizwan Abdul Haji Ali and Abdullah Faiyaz Shaikh of Delhi were in the Pune Police’s most wanted list.

Shahnawaz was then caught by the Delhi Police in October last year. It was revealed that Shahnawaz’s wife was a Hindu named Basanti Patel who converted to Islam and was known as Mariyam. The search for Mariyam and her sister is ongoing.

Shahnawaz too was a graduate from Nagpur’s NIT with a Btech in mining. According to the NIA, Shahnawaz has links with the Barodawala, who is reportedly the mastermind and financer of the Pune ISIS terror module.

Barodawala provided training and money to Mohammad Imran, Yunus and Shahnawaz. Moreover, Akif Atiq Nachan, the IED expert, had hidden Imran and Yunus. Mohammad Imran is a graphic designer.

Akid had stayed in the Kondwa flat of Imran and Yunus for several days in order to train them. He gave bomb-making training in 2022 and showed how an IED is made. Agencies are on the lookout for some other people who were part of the training too.

A reward of Rs 5 lakh was put on Imran’s head by the NIA in the case registered in Chittorgarh, Rajasthan. Additionally, a case was filed against Imran and his two associates at the Kothrud police station. Later, a case was filed against all accused under UAPA.

The extensive charge sheet exposes how ISIS has been launching all-out operations in India by consolidating all terrorist groups. It has also unleashed a web of darker radicals who are pursuing the dangerous trend of self-radicalisation.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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