Kerala youths join Islamic State: Preacher not named in NIA chargesheet gets bail

Haneef was arrested on August 13, 2016 by the Nagpada police for his alleged role in the radicalisation of some Kerala youths who joined terror organisation Islamic State.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai | Published: February 11, 2017 3:09:00 am
Arshi Qureshi (left), Rizwan Khan, co-accused in the case Arshi Qureshi (left), Rizwan Khan, co-accused in the case

A DAY after the National Investigation Agency (NIA) said it did not have enough evidence thus far to chargesheet Maulana Haneef Thottimal, the Kerala-based preacher was granted bail by a special court Friday. Haneef was arrested on August 13, 2016 by the Nagpada police for his alleged role in the radicalisation of some Kerala youths who joined terror organisation Islamic State.

On Thursday, the NIA had informed special Judge V V Patil that while its probe into the case was still on, it did not have sufficient evidence at present to chargesheet Haneef and another accused, Rizwan Khan. As the chargesheet against Haneef was not filed within the stipulated 180 days — which ended on Thursday — he was granted bail. Advocate Sharif Sheikh, appearing for the Maulana, said he was likely to be released on Saturday.

The court has directed him to submit a surety within one month. In its chargesheet, the NIA has claimed that Haneef was a preacher at a Kerala-based mosque. Owing to his good oratory skills, the group of missing youths had started following his teachings. Haneef, Khan and IRF employee Arshi Qureshi were arrested by the Mumbai Police on the basis of a complaint by one Abdul Majeed, who claimed the men had influenced his son Ashfaq and his associates into joining the IS. Khan has also not been chargesheeted so far.

He is likely to file for bail on February 17, after spending 180 days in custody.

On Thursday, the NIA chargesheeted Qureshi and wanted accused Abdulla Rashid and booked them under various sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, claiming they had been instrumental in indoctrinating the youths to join IS.

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