The oath of allegiance allegedly made by five Hyderabad youths, recently arrested by NIA, to Islamic State chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was sent using a computer in a government utility centre, the probe agency has claimed.
The NIA Tuesday conducted searches at three locations in Hyderabad and seized two computers, two scanners and nine live rounds of 9 mm bullets. One of the seized computers was part of a Mee Seva Kendra, run by the relative of one of the accused.
Mee Seva is an integrated service delivery gateway launched by the Andhra Pradesh government as part of its e-governance initiative. Mee Seva Kendras help people access government services and pay various utility bills through an e-governance platform.
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According to NIA, one such Mee Seva Kendra was being run by the brother-in-law of Ibrahim Yazdani, leader of the alleged IS-affiliated group being investigated by the NIA.
Sources said it was through a computer at this centre that the accused scanned and mailed their Baya (oath of allegiance) made to Baghdadi to their handler Aamir, who is suspected to be former IM-operative-turned-IS-recruiter Shafi Armar, in Syria. This along with another computer recovered from the house of Ibrahim was also used by the group for communication with their handler.
The NIA said it conducted searches at the residences of Ibrahim in Talabhatta and Habeen in Barkas apart from the Mee Seva Kendra near Bhavani Nagar in Talabhatta. From Habeeb’s house, the agency claimed to have recovered bullets.
Government sources said more searches and arrests were likely in connection with the case.