Mohammad Asif (41), the suspected “India in-charge” of Al-Qaeda in Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) who was arrested by Delhi Police’s special cell in December, took the Indian government’s help to return to India from Pakistan via Turkey in October 2014. The suspected AQIS operative contacted the Indian Embassy in Istanbul and said that he was visiting the country as a “tourist” and had “lost his passport”. The embassy had then verified his citizenship and issued an “emergency certificate”, paving way for his return.
The revelations are part of the chargesheet filed by the special cell against 17 accused, 12 of whom are absconding, for allegedly conspiring, recruiting Indian youths and establishing a base of AQIS.
The chargesheet reveals that Asif, a resident of Sambhal in Uttar Pradesh, took “religious training” in Waziristan in Pakistan in 2014. However, due to “his old age”, he was not sent for “rigorous askari training”. It also states that Asif stayed near the training camp where Chief of Tehriki-e-Taliban, Pakistan, Hakimullah Mehsood, was killed in a US drone attack.
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The chargesheet says Asif “got stuck in Waziristan for 8-9 months” as Pakistan Army began its operation Jarb-e-Azb to flush out militants. It says Asif began his return journey via Iran. “While going to Tehran from Zahedan, he was caught by Iranian border agency as his Visa had expired. This happened at Mehriyaz border and he was lodged in (a) local jail. After 30 days in jail, he was thrown near Turkey border. In Turkey, he stayed in Sarai, a city of Turkey in the border area…thereafter he contacted Indian Embassy at Istanbul…and came back to India in October 2014,” the chargesheet states.
“The above version of the accused Asif has been verified through Ministry of External Affairs, Bureau of Security…As per the report dated 23 February, 2016 of MEA, accused had submitted an application there on 28 July 2014 with the reason that he had come to Istanbul… on tourist Visa and has lost his passport. The embassy verified his citizenship and issued emergency certificate on 29 September, 2014 with reason for illegally living in Turkey, no police report furnished for loss of passport and then he returned back to India,” the chargesheet adds.
The chargesheet states that Asif was made “in-charge” of AQIS in India after the completion of training in Waziristan by accused Sayed Akhtar, also hailing from Sambhal and reportedly living near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border currently.
The chargesheet adds that Asif has disclosed during interrogation that AQIS head Sanaul Haq had “refused” two persons from Azamgarh to take over as head of Indian Mujahideen, on the grounds that the outfit was “backed by Pakistani ISI”.
“In Waziristan, Mohd Asif also met with two other youths namely Shahid and Akhlaq (code names) from Azamgarh, belonging to Indian Mujahideen. They had come to Sanaul Haq with the request to take over the charge of head of IM, which was, however, refused by Sanaul Haq on the ground that IM was backed by Pakistan ISI,” the chargesheet says.
The chargesheet alleges that in May 2015, Akhtar asked Asif “to go to Bangalore” to meet accused Maulana Anzer Shah and Maulana Abdul Rehman, belonging to Cuttack, for “recruiting news boys for AQIS”.
What chargesheet says about others
The chargesheet states that Cuttack-based cleric Abdul Rehman has disclosed that after his training in LeT training camp in Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, he was taken by accused Farhatullah Gauri to Rawalpindi Jail where he met LeT chief Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi. “During his discussion, Lakhvi enquired about conditions of Muslims in India and motivated him to lead jihad against Indian government. Lakhvi told him that it was right time for Ghazwatul Hind,” the chargesheet states. Chargesheet also claims that Rehman has been working as a “coordinator” between AQIS and LeT.
The chargesheet states that accused Abdul Sami, who hails from Jamshedpur, said during interrogation that Rehman was planning to “organise a training programme in Naxalite area” of Jharkhand. Sami, it claims, had disclosed that “he had undergone specialised training of IED fabrication” in Afghanistan/Pakistan border area. “After 8-10 days of training, one Maulana Abdula Shah Mazhar Sahab (Zimmedar of Galba-e-Islam jamat) from Karachi took them to his madrasa. There they met Maulana Abdul Jabbar, head of Galba-e-Islam, who sent him with three seniors for his advanced training,” the chargesheet says.
“After 15 days, they were sent for practical training by road to Chaman on Pakistan-Afghanistan border. In Chaman, they practically exploded bombs, IEDs and grenades… after 15 days they came back to Karachi,” the chargesheet adds.
The chargesheet claims that Masood, hailing from Sambhal, met the AQIS head Sanaul Haq in November 1999 during his Pakistan visit, pretending to run a business of “pan katha”. The chargesheet also claimed that he visited the camp of Harkat-e-Mujahidin. “He has admitted to having obtained arms ammunition training and then returned back to India,” the chargesheet says.