The Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) and the Uttar Pradesh Police, in their initial probe, have not found any link between the three accused arrested from Surat in connection with the murder of former Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha leader Kamlesh Tiwari in Lucknow and Islamic State (ISIS) or any known terror outfit.
The Gujarat ATS arrested Faizan Shaikh, Rashid Pathan and Maulana Mohsin Shaikh from Surat on Friday night for their alleged involvement in the murder of Tiwari in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh on Friday. The accused were brought to the ATS Headquarters in Ahmedabad on Saturday morning after which multiple teams of UP Special Task Force (STF), UP Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) along with UP Police officers interrogated them.
On October 24, 2017, Gujarat ATS arrested two suspected ISIS members, Kasim Stimberwala and Obaid Mirza from Ankleshwar in Bharuch, for allegedly planning a lone wolf terror attack on a local synagogue in Ahmedabad and in Maharashtra.
The ATS filed a 1,500-page chargesheet against the duo in April 2018, where the officers clearly mentioned that the accused duo had claimed in front of two witnesses that they wished to “murder Tiwari” for his objectionable comments made against the Prophet. Stimberwala worked as a lab technician in Ankleshwar while Mirza was a practicing lawyer in Surat.
There were reports earlier that an ISIS connection could be behind the murder of Tiwari as the two suspected ISIS operatives held by ATS in 2017 had mentioned wanting to kill him.
Three sources within the Gujarat ATS and UP Police confirmed to The Indian Express that till now they have not found any link between the arrested accused with the banned terror outfit ISIS or any organisation.
“We have not found any link between the three accused arrested for Tiwari’s murder and the two ISIS accused we had arrested earlier in 2017. Nor have we found links of any other known terror outfit with the three accused till now. The UP Police teams have not questioned the two ISIS suspects,” said Himanshu Shukla, Deputy Inspector General, ATS Gujarat.
Since the murder of Tiwari, a message on WhatsApp and other social media began circulating that an unknown terror outfit by the name of ‘Al Hind’ Brigade has claimed responsibility for the murder. However, Shukla denied the claim stating, “The message circulating is not true. We have also questioned Maulana Mohsin Shaikh if he was connected to any terror outfit but so far nothing has come up.”
A top cop in the UP ATS informed The Indian Express that the state’s agencies have begun interrogating the accused.
“Multiple teams including STF have reached ATS headquarters and started questioning the accused. Till now, we have not found any terror outfit link,” said the officer.