Police scan Mehdi’s tweets to assess possible IS link

Sleuths revive @ShamiWitness; parents grilled

December 14, 2014 02:30 pm | Updated November 16, 2021 05:40 pm IST - Bengaluru

Central Crime Branch (CCB) officials secured a five-day police custody of Mehdi Masroor Biswas on Sunday and are working their way through 1.3 lakh tweets from his Twitter handle @ShamiWitness to ascertain the “extent” of his involvement with the IS.

A team of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) questioned Mehdi’s parents at their home in 24 North Parganas in West Bengal. The mother, Mamtaz Begum, told The Hindu that they were looking for a lawyer to defend her son.

Retracing Mehdi’s footprints in the digital world is key to the investigation, sources in the Bengaluru Police said. He is being interrogated in an undisclosed location in the city. An official said Mehdi was cooperating with the interrogators.

Investigators are trying to find the tweets on his timeline which IS fighters may have re-tweeted or replied to, police sources said. They are trying to ascertain if there were any tweets breaking news or information about the IS from his handle, which would suggest he had direct communication with the IS. The police are taking the help of Arabic language experts.

The tweets also need to be reviewed to establish the crime he has been booked for: waging war against a friendly Asian ally. A CCB official leading the probe said they faced the challenge of forensically establishing that Mehdi was the handler of @ShamiWitness.

A screenshot of Mehdi Biswas’ retrieved Twitter page.

>Tracing @ShamiWitness
Britain’s MI6 helps India home in on Mehdi A globally coordinated effort with British and Indian intelligence agencies coming together with Bangalore City Police led to the swift arrest of 24-year-old Mehdi Masroor Biswas, the alleged owner of the pro-IS Twitter account @ShamiWitness >Read hereMehdi was under surveillance for long The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which has been closely watching the developments in the case, rendered assistance to the Bengaluru police in guiding their probe and lodging of the FIR against the 24-year-old techie. >Read hereMehdi reigned in the virtual world: police Police Commissioner M. N. Reddi said though most of the tweets from arrested Bangalore techie Mehdi Biswas were translations of Arabic tweets and re-tweets, he also had tweeted his radical opinions which he described as ‘instigating’. >Read hereA studious boy who did not mix with people Mehdi, a graduate of electrical engineering, had gone to Bengaluru in 2012 after he was offered a job with ITC after a campus recruitment process. >Read hereAll attention on Jalahalli bylane It is the place where Mehdi Masroor Biswas, lived. >Read hereHe wanted to be an ideologue Though Mehdi Masroor Biswas in his interview to Channel 4, claimed that he wanted to be there with the IS fighters at the frontline, a senior official who interrogated him said that he was not excited by being a mere foot soldier but aimed high — to be an ideologue high up in the value chain of the movement. >Read hereFather had not heard of IS "My son said that his internet account is hacked. I don’t believe that my son has any link with ISIS," M. Biswas, father of Mehdi Masroor Biswas, said in Kolkata. >Read here

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