The Q-Branch of the Tamil Nadu police and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) raided a high-end apartment complex in Poonamalle, Chennai, in a bid to locate ISIS operatives ‘holed up’ there. Earlier, the police had reportedly arrested a suspect from Mannady. On interrogating him, the police reached the apartment complex and found three Sri Lankans staying there. Officials did check the documents they were carrying besides questioning them about the duration and purpose of their visit. Interrogation of the suspects is still on. Officials, however, remained tight-lipped about the details of those being interrogated. The raids and subsequent questioning assumes significance in the wake of the Sri Lanka Easter day blasts which killed over 300 people.
Sources said accused in custody had telephonic links to Sri Lanka terror mastermind Zahran Hashim. The NIA had held inquiries with a couple of people in Ramanathapuram who had suspected links to the Sri Lanka terror attacks. The NIA and the Q-Branch reached the Mannadi suspect after the Ramanathapuram.
There were reports that Zahran Hashim was in Tamil Nadu for a brief period ahead of the SL attacks. On Sunday (April 28), the NIA arrested an ISIS sympathiser from Kerala, identified as Riyas Aboobacker, 29, on charges of planning a suicide attack in the state, ANI reported.
The NIA made the arrest as part of its investigation into the 2016 Kasargod Islamic State (IS) module case. In 2016, 15 people had disappeared from Kasargod and allegedly migrated to West Asia to join the ISIS.
The agency on April 28 had carried out two raids at Kasargod and one in Palakkad, two northern district in Kerala, in this connection.
During interrogation, Riyas Aboobacker, apprehended from Palakkad, told NIA sleuths that he was a follower of Zahran Hashim, the mastermind of the Easter Sunday attacks in Sri Lanka and had been following his videos for more than a year.
Riyas also admitted to following the speeches of Zakir Naik, a radical Islamic preacher who is absconding now. Reports say he has been in contact with Abdul Rashid Abdulla, alias Abu Isa, for a long time and has been following his audio clips where he instigates his followers to carry out an attack in India.
Riyas also confessed that he was in touch with Abdul Khayoom, alias Abu Khalid, accused in the Valapattanam IS case. The Valapattanam case pertains to five youth leaving Kerala to fight for the ISIS in Syria, in 2017.