NIA arrests alleged operative of al-Qaeda affiliate

Case pertains to a conspiracy to trigger IED blast in Lucknow

February 08, 2022 11:53 pm | Updated 11:57 pm IST - NEW DELHI

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) in New Delhi. File

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) in New Delhi. File

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has arrested an alleged al-Qaeda affiliated operative in connection with a conspiracy by the terror outfit to trigger an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) blast in Uttar Pradesh’s Lucknow.

The accused has been identified as Tawheed Ahmad Shah, a resident of Budgam in Jammu and Kashmir. He was arrested on Monday.

The case was initially registered by the Anti-Terror Squad of Uttar Pradesh on July 11, 2021 against the persons who had entered into a conspiracy to recruit members for an al-Qaeda affiliate named Ansaar Gajwatul Hind (AGH) and to commit terrorist acts in Lucknow. The NIA took over the probe days later.

‘The mastermind’

“The investigation revealed that the arrested accused, Tawheed, was the mastermind of the conspiracy for recruitment and to commit terrorist acts in the name of AGH, including procurement of arms, ammunitions and explosive materials, to be used for attacks in Uttar Pradesh,” said the agency.

The NIA had earlier arrested five accused, Museeruddin, Minhaj Ahmad, Shakeel, Mustaqeem and Mohammad Moid, in the same case and filed a charge sheet against them on January 5. They are all from Lucknow.

According to the agency, Ahmad was radicalised online by two al-Qaeda terrorists based in Jammu and Kashmir. He recruited Museeruddin, following which they procured arms, ammunitions, explosive material and conducted reconnaissance of vulnerable areas for carrying out blasts. The other three were also involved, as alleged.

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