New Delhi: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) Wednesday arrested two suspected financiers of a “Bengaluru-based ISIS module” for allegedly “radicalising and motivating Muslim youth of Bengaluru” to join the West Asia-based terror group. The men are also accused of “raising funds to facilitate” the travel of the radicalised youth to Syria.
According to the NIA, the two men, Ahamed Abdul Cader (40), a business analyst at a bank in Chennai, and Irfan Nasir (33), a Bengaluru-based rice merchant, and their associates were members of a module called Hizb-ut-Tehrir. The two have been remanded in 10 days’ NIA custody.
“They had formed a group called ‘Quran Circle’, which radicalised gullible Muslim youth in Bengaluru and funded their visit to the conflict zone in Syria to aid and assist ISIS terrorists,” an NIA officer said.
According to sources in the NIA, it was during their investigation into the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) case — which saw five people arrested last month for their alleged association with a banned ISIS chapter active in South Asia — that the agency found out about the Bengaluru-based module. It registered a fresh case in the matter on 19 September.
“One Dr Abdur Rahman was arrested in the ISKP case. During his examination, names of his associates surfaced who had travelled to Syria in 2013-2014 to join ISIS,” the officer said.
“Based on this, a case was registered against the accused persons for having affiliation with the banned terrorist organisation — known as ISIS, ISIL, Daesh — and for entering into a conspiracy to radicalise and motivate Muslim youth of Bengaluru to join ISIS, and also arrange logistics, including money, to facilitate their travel to Syria,” the officer added.
Earlier, investigators had also discovered travel to Syria among members of an ISIS module busted in Kasargod, Kerala.
The five persons arrested in the IKSP case were charge-sheeted last month. They are: Jahanzaib Sami of Delhi, Hina Bashir of Kashmir, Abdullah Basith of Hyderabad, and Sadiya Anwar Shaikh and Nabeel Siddick Khatri of Pune. The chargesheet was filed in a Delhi court.
The accused have been charged with conspiring to create disaffection against the government, promoting enmity among different religious communities and for committing subversive activities.
‘Two doctors among the group that went to Syria’
A second source in the NIA said 10 persons from the Bengaluru module travelled to Syria, and they included two doctors who were asked to set up a medical camp and “help the fighters”.
“The two doctors were asked to set up a camp for medical help, and to educate the fighters on first aid and how to help each other in times of an emergency,” the source added.
“Most of these men who travelled to Syria… in this group were well-educated, some of them even returned after they were disillusioned,” the source said, adding that two of these men were killed.
Four more persons have been questioned in the case and more arrests are likely, the source added.
‘Arranged funds through donations’
According to NIA officials, the two men and their associates arranged funds through donations and personal sources to facilitate the visits of Abdur Rahman and other Bengaluru Muslim youths to Syria to join ISIS.
NIA teams have conducted searches on the premises of the duo arrested, at Gurupanna Palya and Frazer Town in Bengaluru, and have seized electronic devices for further investigation.
“Both the accused were produced before special NIA court, Bengaluru and 10 days’ NIA custody has been granted for interrogation. Further investigation in the case will continue to unearth the larger conspiracy,” the officer said.