The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which on Wednesday filed a voluminous chargesheet against alleged Islamic State (IS) recruit Areeb Majeed, has prepared two Letters Rogatory (LR) for Iraq and Syria. But with no stable government in place in both the nations, the letters have been put on hold.
“Since his case pertains to acts against Iraq and Syria, information from those countries will strengthen our case. However, looking at the present situation where the militant IS is governing patches of the region, we naturally cannot write to them,” a senior NIA officer said.
A Letter Rogatory is a formal request from a court to a foreign court seeking judicial assistance.
The over 8,000-page chargesheet mentions 12 LRs written by NIA to various countries including Afghanistan, Turkey and the US.
The chargesheet claims that Areeb also worked with the Defence Ministry or ‘Tasnia’ in Syria and the Kalyan quartet was chosen to be part of a fidayeen squad. “IS allows recruits to undertake training only after they have a ‘Tazkiyah’ (recommendation). Abu Fatima, who the youth had contacted through social media, helped them get entry to an IS camp in Jazira. From there they were taken to Hudood Centre in Raqqa city. Here, they underwent training in the handling of arms and ammunition and… battlefield tactics. Areeb had joined Tasnia in Syria and worked in the civil construction department,” it reads.
Dwelling on the preparation before the four friends left for Iraq, the chargesheet states that Areeb was assigned the task of finding the route to Syria. “Areeb contacted people from countries like Australia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and even America who could guide him to go to Turkey… An Iraqi national Abu Rami and Abu Falliya from Turkey were the two people Areeb was prominently in touch with while planning the trip,” the chargesheet states. “The quartet first decided to travel to Syria via Turkey by taking up a holiday package…Areeb also inquired with Thomas Cook Holiday office at Kalyan…,” it states, adding that finding the holiday package plan cumbersome, Areeb chose to go to Iraq on Ziyarat (pilgrimage) visa which only requires passports.
The chargesheet states that Afghan national Rehman Dawlaty partly financed the trip. “On the instruction of Dawlaty, they got in touch with a Kuwaiti national Abdulla Hadi Abdulla Rehman Alenezi through WhatsApp. Alenezi then transferred US $ 1,000 by Western Union Money Transfer…”
The bulk of evidence in the case comprises chats and posts by the four youths who used social networking platforms for conversing and posting inflammatory messages.
On Areeb’s return journey, the chargesheet says Areeb personally met Abu Hammam Iraqi, Ameer of Tasnia office, who gave him the “official permission” to leave on November 23 by issuing a letter bearing the IS seal.
The chargesheet further states that Areeb never met Tahira Bhatt, who he is believed to have ‘married’ online before leaving India. “We suspect she was a honeypot and was used as part of the indoctrination process. The two never met and we do not even know if she is a real person,” added the officer.