New Delhi: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) Tuesday arrested an ophthalmologist working at the M.S. Ramaiah Medical College, Bengaluru, for allegedly “furthering activities” of Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP), a banned terrorist organisation and a part of the Islamic State (IS).
According to NIA officials, Abdur Rahman, who was arrested after raids by teams of NIA, was developing a medical and a weaponry related application for IS cadres.
The arrest was made in the same case that was initially registered by the Delhi Police Special Cell in March 2020 after the arrest of a Kashmiri couple — Jahanzaib Sami Wani and his wife Hina Bashir Beigh — from Jamia Nagar in Delhi.
The couple reportedly had affiliations with the ISKP and were involved in “subversive and anti-national activities”. Police also said they were in correspondence with Abdullah Basith, who is in Tihar jail in connection with another NIA case.
Further investigations led the NIA to Sadiya Anwar Sheikh and Nabeel Siddick Khatri, both residents of Pune, who were carrying out “subversive activities in the garb of anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests”.
Interrogation of the accused led the NIA to Rahman.
Travelled to Syria to treat IS fighters
According to NIA officers, Rahman confessed that he was conspiring with Jahanzaib Sami Wani and other Syria-based IS operatives on secure messaging platforms such as Signal and Telegram to further the terrorist group’s activities.
Rahman’s main job was to develop a medical application for helping the injured IS cadres in the conflict-zones and a weaponry-related application for IS fighters, according to the investigative agency.
“The medical application had instructions on what to do in medical emergencies, important medicines, what to do if no medical help was available and some other features,” a source said.
NIA did not elaborate on what the weaponry-related application was.
It also claimed that Rahman had visited an IS medical camp in Syria in early 2014 to treat IS members and stayed with operatives for 10 days before returning to India.
After his arrest, NIA carried out searches at three locations linked to Rahman with the assistance of Karnataka Police and seized digital devices, a mobile phone and a laptop containing “incriminating material.”
“The arrested accused will be produced before the NIA Special Court at New Delhi and NIA remand will be sought for his custodial interrogation. Further investigation in the case is continued,” an officer said.
The Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) is the Islamic State’s Central Asian province, which came into existence in 2015.
As the Islamic State lost its territory in Syria and Iraq, it turned to Afghanistan to set up a base for its global caliphate. According to intelligence agencies, the IS made several provinces after it decentralised.
The IS has a stronghold in the Khorasan province and invested a majority of its financial resources here to build its networks in Central Asia.