Terror accused coordinated on social media, says police

The five persos arrested on charges of plotting terror attacks got in touch and organised themselves using a range of social media applications, an Uttar Pradesh police officer has said.

Abu Zaid, the alleged ideologue of the radicalised group that was nabbed from the Mumbai airport on November 3, has told investigators that the members coordinated through Facebook, Threema and Telegram applications among other means of communication.

Giving details of the timeline of the alleged terror plot, Aseem Arun, Inspector-General, Anti-Terror Squad, said Zaid, 32, started leaning towards “jihad” after he befriended some “jihadi-minded” people on Facebook and began reading books recommended by them. “He would follow jihad related videos and posts on Facebook, and would enjoy them a lot,” said Mr. Arun. In February, Zaid befriended Nazim alias Umar, a resident of Bijnore who was living in Mumbai then, through another App, Telegram, the police said.

Nazim was among the four persons arrested from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab and Maharashtra in April in a pre-emptive operation by the police of various States.

Recruitment drive

Zaid had already come in touch with another accused Ghazi Baba through Facebook. The three then started communicating on Threema, a secure messaging application, and created a group on social media where they uploaded jihadi video and literature, the police said.

They also communicated with one another on the dynamics of their “jihad,” recruiting new members and collecting funds for buying weapons, Mr. Arun said. The police have charged Zaid with trying to attract youths towards “IS and other Islamist groups.”

The ATS has sent Zaid’s mobile phone for investigation as he had deleted all data when he panicked on hearing the news of the arrest of his co-accused in April, the officer said.

Zaid had started living in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in 2009 after going there on a work visa. However, the company he was employed in was not doing well and he was desperate to return home. Assessing that things had calmed down, he thought of coming back and that was when he was nabbed by the ATS at Mumbai airport, said Mr. Arun. The U.P. ATS, which brought Zaid to Lucknow on transit remand, is still questioning him.

The accused in the case have been booked under Sections 120 B, 121A, 153, 123 and 122B of the IPC and Section 18 of the UA(P)A. The police claim that Zaid was the main ideologue of the group. Jakhvan was allegedly the group’s financier.

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Printable version | Oct 31, 2020 1:25:19 PM |

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