An ophthalmologist, who allegedly worked briefly with the Islamic State in Syria in 2014, was arrested by the National Investigation Agency in Bengaluru Monday as part of an investigation into a case registered in March against the Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) module.
Five persons have already been arrested in this connection.
The NIA, with the assistance of Karnataka Police, arrested Abdur Rahman, 28, an ophthalmologist at the MS Ramaiah Hospital in Bengaluru, on the charge of conspiring with Jahanzaib Sami Wani of J&K.
Wani and his wife, Hina Bashir Beigh, were arrested earlier by the NIA in New Delhi for allegedly carrying out ISIS activity in India.
“During interrogation, arrested accused Abdur Rahman confessed that he was conspiring with accused Jahanzaib Sami and other Syria-based ISIS operatives on secure messaging platforms to further ISIS activities,” the NIA said in a statement Tuesday.
Rahman from south Bengaluru, the NIA said, “visited an ISIS medical camp in Syria in early 2014 for treatment of ISIS terrorists and stayed with Islamic State operatives for 10 days and returned to India”.
Rahman was “in the process of developing a medical application for helping injured ISIS cadres in conflict-zones and a weaponry-related application for the benefit of ISIS fighters,” the NIA said.
The case against the ISKP module was registered by the Delhi Police Special Cell in March after Jahanzaib Sami and his wife Hina Bashir, living in Delhi, were allegedly found to be involved in “subversive and anti-national activities”.
It was alleged that they had been in contact with Abdullah Basith, a Hyderabad youth lodged in Tihar Jail in an NIA case. Incidentally, 20-year-old Basith is considered to be one of the first ISIS recruits in India.
The NIA had earlier arrested two residents of Pune, Sadiya Anwar Sheikh and Nabeel Siddick Khatri, in the ISKP case “for being part of the conspiracy to further the activities of ISIS/ISKP in India and to carry out subversive activities in the garb of anti-CAA protests”.
Basith and three other youths from Hyderabad tried to leave India in September 2014 to allegedly join ISIS. They were tracked down to Kolkata by intelligence agencies, brought back to Hyderabad and handed over to their parents after a de-radicalization effort.
Basith and two youths made a second attempt to leave India to join ISIS in December 2015 and were arrested in Nagpur by intelligence agencies.
Basith is accused in the NIA’s Abu Dhabi IS module case of 2016 for allegedly receiving over Rs 50,000 from a Karnataka youth in Abu Dhabi to fund his attempts to join ISIS.
Explained: Kerala’s Islamic State connection
The youth who funded Basith in 2015, Adnan Hasan, along with a Kashmiri youth, Sheikh Azhar ul Islam, and a Mumbai youth, Mohammed Farhan Sheikh, were deported from UAE in January 2016.
The Abu Dhabi module and the Hyderabad youths arrested in 2015 and 2016 were alleged to have been in touch with Shafi Armar, an alleged ISIS recruiter based abroad. Armar has been reported dead on more than one occasion, but this has not been confirmed by security agencies.
MS Ramaiah Medical College said it was not aware of Dr. Abdur Rahman’s activities outside campus. “According to our records, he passed his MBBS from Bangalore Medical College Research Institute in 2014 and was admitted in 2017 under government quota through the Karnataka Examinations Authority. He completed MS Ophthalmology in July 2020,' it said.
(With inputs from Darshan Devaiah BP)
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines