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ISIS recruit case: Mumbra man in Libyan army’s custody, efforts on to bring him back to India

The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) has booked him under certain sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

Written by Rashmi Rajput | Mumbai |
March 22, 2017 6:21:39 am
ISIS recruit case, Maharashtra ISIS recruit case, TABREZ TAMBE, Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad, India news, National news, India news, Latest news Tabrez Tambe

TABREZ TAMBE, 28, a Mumbra resident who allegedly fled to Libya to join the globally banned terror outfit Islamic State (IS), is currently in custody of the Libyan army, it is learnt. Sources in the security establishment told The Indian Express that efforts were under way to get him back to India and bring him to book.

The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) has booked him under certain sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). “We have managed to trace him with the help of the Libyan authorities and he is currently in custody of their army. Now, we are working towards bringing him back,” said an official who did not wish to be named.

Mumbra man in Libyan army’s custody, efforts on to bring him back to country

According to the sources, Tambe was identified by Dr Ramamurthy Kosanam, a doctor from Andhra Pradesh who was recently rescued and brought back to India from Libya in February this year. Dr Kosanam had been held captive by IS militants for around two years. He identified Tabrez as a medical attendant in the hospital where the doctor was forced to work by the militant group. “Upon his return, an ATS team visited him and showed him Tabrez’s photographs. Through the photographs, Dr Kosanam identified him and informed us that he was working as an attendant,” said the official.

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After the identification, security agencies mounted efforts to track him and subsequently the Libyan authorities confirmed Kosanam’s claims and informed the Indian agencies that he was in custody of their army.

If Tambe returns, he will be the second Indian national from Maharashtra to be brought back to India and prosecuted by authorities for joining a banned outfit. Areeb Majeed, one of the four youths from Kalyan who had fled the country in May 2014 to fight alongside IS, returned in November that year. Upon his arrival, Majeed was arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) under the UAPA. The trial against Majeed is yet to commence.

Tabrez’s family too had approached the Indian ambassador to Libya seeking his intervention in locating and rescuing him from the war-torn country. “On January 26, I sent an email to the Indian ambassador in Libya stating that my brother had moved to Egypt in January last year for a job. Ali, a Saudi Arabian national, had helped him land the job. Subsequently, Ali took him to Libya for training. However, last December, we got a call from Tabrez saying he was stuck in a war-torn region and that we should seek help from the authorities to get him back to India,” Saud Tambe, Tabrez’s younger brother, had earlier told The Indian Express.

While Saud claimed that he didn’t know the name of the company that had employed Tabrez in Libya, he said his brother called in March last year to inform the family that he was moving to Libya for training. After that, Saud said, Tabrez didn’t call until December last year when he sought help.

However, the ATS probe has revealed that while Tabrez left India in January last year claiming to have bagged a job in Egypt, he had moved to Libya within a month. While the probe confirmed that Tabrez called his mother in March 2016, investigators said it wasn’t to tell the family that he was moving to Libya for training but to inform them that he had joined the IS and that they shouldn’t check on him. However, they said, he did call in December to say he was stuck and needed help.

The ATS probe has also revealed that Tabrez had booked a return ticket to India to avoid suspicion. “Tambe made a booking through an online travel portal. We interrogated the Delhi-based representative who made the booking. The investigation has revealed that he booked a return ticket just to show that he intended to return to India. However, our investigation has revealed that the plan to go to Egypt for employment was an alibi; the real purpose was to leave India to join the IS,” said an ATS officer, adding that the investigators were combing Tabrez’s social media profile and questioning his friends.

After his graduation from Mumbai University, Tabrez did a diploma course in air cargo management. He has two brothers, besides Saud, and a sister. The family, which is from Harnai in Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra, moved to Mumbra near Mumbai sometime in 2009 and has been staying on rent.

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