The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday claimed that two more people in West Bengal were indirectly working for al-Qaeda. They are residents of Malda district. On Saturday, the agency had arrested six suspected al-Qaeda terrorists from Murshidabad district.
These two people under the scanner allegedly participated in a meeting with the other accused late on Thursday night in Murshidabad. Everyone dispersed the following day. “The two are now on the run and a search for them has started,” an official told PTI.
According to sources, the six arrested are local recruits of the terrorist organisation, and were planning to spread their ideology in the area. The NIA tracked them through GPS, and later allegedly found some offshore monetary transactions that are now under investigation.
According to sources, the NIA also traced a few numbers of those arrested to Kashmir. The agency suspects they were in touch with their Valley counterparts. The NIA is also trying to dig out more inputs from a WhatsApp group the accused were allegedly part of, and has shared some inputs with state agencies for better surveillance.
Meanwhile, the six accused were flown to Delhi on Monday in three flights, said sources in the NIA. While they were being taken to Kolkata airport, one of those arrested told the media, “We were not planning anything.”
Apart from those held in Murshidabad, three were arrested in Ernakulam in Kerala the same day. The NIA has claimed they were radicalised by a Pakistan-based al-Qaeda module on social media, which was motivating them to carry out attacks at multiple places, including the National Capital Region.
The nine have been identified as Murshid Hasan, Iyakub Biswas and Mosaraf Hossen – arrested in Ernakulam – and Najmus Sakib, Abu Sufiyan, Mainul Mondal, Leu Yean Ahmed, Al Mamun Kamal and Atitur Rehman. Sources said Murshid Hasan had allegedly influenced Abu Sufiyan to join the outfit. Hasan and Sufiyan are from the same village in Murshidabad.
On Sunday, the police discovered an under-construction underground chamber in Sufiyan’s house. His family members claimed that they were constructing a bathroom and the place was meant to be utilised as a septic tank. However, sources said the agency suspects it was being built to store explosives.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines