3 operatives of terror module with links to ISI arrested


The Delhi Police arrested three operatives of a suspected terror module with links to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, for planning attacks across India. The police also said that the suspects conducted recce at several locations in southern and western India and that incriminating material, including evidence that they were making explosives, were seized from them.

The police also said that the module was disguised as a network linked to terror group Islamic State (IS). However, members of the group were involved in IS-related activities.

The Special Cell of the Delhi Police had, on Sunday and Monday, arrested the three suspects, who were allegedly running the terror module. They were identified as Shahnawaz Alam, 31, who was arrested from Jaitpur; and Mohammad Arshad Warsi, 29 and Mohammad Rizwan Ashraf, 28, who were arrested from Lucknow and Moradabad respectively, in Uttar Pradesh.

Of the three suspected operatives, Mr. Alam carried a reward of ₹3 lakh announced by the National Investigating Agency (NIA) and was in the agency’s most-wanted list, an officer said.

A Delhi court has remanded the trio to police custody for seven days.

WhenMr. Alam’s location at Jaitpur was raided, the police found “incriminating evidence” and “material to create explosives, including chemicals, plastic tubes, iron pipes, and devices”, said Special Commissioner of Police (Special Cell) HGS Dhaliwal, adding that a pistol and cartridges were also found.

An officer said the material for making bombs might have come from Pakistan handlers across the border, since the suspects were in “touch with many people on Internet, and were receiving instructions at every stage”.

Along with Central agencies, multiple locations in Delhi, Dehradun, Aligarh, Lucknow, Moradabad, and Prayagraj were raided to bust the module sponsored by Pakistan’s ISI, the police said.

“Credible inputs revealed that in order to carry out terror attacks in India, while simultaneously trying to hide its role and to circumvent scrutiny by international agencies, ‘Pak. ISI’ created a façade, focused on IS,” said Mr. Dhaliwal. He added that Pakistan-based and protected terrorists, who are fugitives in India like Farahtullah Gauri and his son-in-law Shahid Faisal – accused in the Akshardham temple attack case – could be involved.

He said Pakistan’s intelligence agency has “emphasized” on collecting funds through criminal activities (Maal-e-Ghanimat) for this module to project it as a “home-grown” and “self-radicalised network”.

According to the police, one such module was operating in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand and Maharashtra. While two alleged ISIS operatives part of the module, Imran Khan and Yunus Saaki, were arrested on July 18 in Pune, Mr. Alam managed to escape.

“Through technical and manual surveillance, it was found that the group had elaborate plans of carrying out terror activities in Delhi and adjoining areas, and were in advanced stage of preparations, having procured arms, ammunition and explosives,” said Mr. Dhaliwal.

On Sunday, when Mr. Arshad was arrested, he disclosed that he works as an associate for Mr. Alam and revealed the conspiracy to carry out terror activities in Delhi and other areas, said the police.

To establish their network, the accused visited Lavasa in Mahabaleshwar; Goa; Hubballi, Saraswati Wildlife Area and Udupi in Karnataka; parts of Kerala; Valsad Wildlife Sanctuary, Gujarat; Nallamala mountain ranges, Andhra Pradesh; and Chandauli, UP, to figure out suitable hideouts for their stay and to set up their base in Western Ghats, Mr. Dhaliwal said.

“Alam also conducted recce at various locations including mazars and dargahs, routes of VIP political leaders in Mumbai, Surat, and Vadodara for planting IEDs and targeted killings,” he said.

To create funds, police said, they took to crime. They had previously been apprehended for motorcycle theft. “Any small amount would go as contribution for their large terror module,” an officer said.

“Since December 2022, on the instructions of a foreign handler, Alam, and Rizwan along with their other associates had started accumulating material in Delhi for preparation of IED in furtherthanance of their conspiracy to carry out blast in Delhi,” he added.

Police have arrested the suspects under provisions of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Explosives Act, and Arms Act.


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