A Delhi court on Thursday sent 10 people, arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on suspicion of being part of an ISIS-inspired group, to 12-day of custody of the probe agency. They were produced amidst tight security and with covered faces before Additional Sessions Judge Ajay Pandey who ordered in-camera proceedings in the case.
The NIA had sought 15-day custodial interrogation. The agency had arrested them on Wednesday after a series of raids across Delhi and UP. Led by an Islamic preacher, the self-appointed group was planning to carry out a series of blasts across the country and attack several important personalities including politicians, the probe agency said.
NIA IG Alok Mittal said that the group was going to carry out attacks soon and that is why agencies, which had the group under surveillance some three months ago, arrested them. “All the accused are in the age group of 20-30 years and members come from various professions — from civil engineer to welder, from undergraduate to autorickshaw driver. The group is led by Mufti Suhail, a religious preacher who hails from Amroha, but recently shifted to Seelampur in Delhi. He has motivated and directed the group at every step while carrying out its activities,” Mittal said.
The agency said raids were conducted to disrupt this activity. Searches were carried out at six places in Jafrabad, Seelampur, Delhi, and 11 places in Uttar Pradesh, which included six locations in Amroha, two in Lucknow, two in Hapur and one in Meerut. It is from Meerut that the accused are suspected of having procured arms and ammunition.
A huge cache of explosives, arms and ammunition were recovered in the searches, which includes a rudimentary rocket launcher which the suspects had fashioned out of scrap, the NIA said. The agency also recovered 25 kg of explosives, 112 alarm clocks and 134 SIM cards which indicates that the group was planning multiple blasts. The agency also said it had recovered material that suggested preparation of a suicide vest along with evidence of online chatter that suggested fidayeen attacks.
This is among the biggest arrests the NIA has made at one time in connection with its probe into activities associated with the Islamic State in the country. In 2015, NIA had arrested over 20 men from Hyderabad and elsewhere for allegedly being part of a module that planned to carry out terror attacks in the country.