NIA sleuths arrest ISIS ‘mastermind’ of Tamil Nadu module in Kovai

Updated 10:00 PM, 12 June, 2019
The FIR copy into the case has revealed that the trio had planned to launch suicide bombings at crowded places including temples and churches in the city

National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday (June 12) arrested Mohammed Azharrudin, the alleged mastermind of ISIS Tamil Nadu module over his alleged motive to perpetrate terror attacks in south India, especially in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Earlier in the day, NIA sleuths conducted raids at the residences and offices of Azharrudin and five of his associates in Coimbatore city and detained them for questioning.

Sources close to NIA said the six were booked by NIA, Kochi on May 30.

NIA sources said Mohammed Azharrudin (32), one of the accused is the leader of the south Indian wing of ISIS and had links with Sri Lanka serial bomb blast mastermind and National Thowheed Jama’at leader Maulvi Zahran Bin Hashim over social media. He along with his associates have been propagating ISIS ideology through social media. According to NIA, Azarudeen recruited vulnerable youth into the ISIS for carrying out terrorist attacks in South India, especially in Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

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“The prime accused Mohammed Azarudeen has been the leader of the module and has been maintaining the Facebook page named ‘KhilafahGFX”, through which he had been propagating the ideology of ISIS/ Daish. Accused Mohammed Azarudeen has been a Facebook friend of Sri Lankan suicide bomber Zahran Hashim and other members of the module have also been sharing radical contents attributed to Zahran Hashim, over the social media,” NIA sources said.

Azharrudin’s associates were identified as M Abubacker (30) of Kuniyamuthur, Y Idhayathullah (37) of South Ukkadam, A Saddam Hussain (30) of Podanur, S Akram Zindha (26) of Podanur and I Ibrahim alias Shayin Sha (28) of Ukkdam. Digital devices including laptop, pen drives, hard discs and mobile phones were seized from their possession. After the raid, the six were taken to the NIA office in Coimbatore for further inquiry over their links with ISIS recruiters in other parts of the country.

Azharrudin, a resident of Anbu Nagar in Ukkadam, who was working for Oibla tours and travels firm in Karumbukadai, was in touch with Hashim for years, NIA sources said. “He seems to have received some videos from Hashim,” the sources added.

Akram Zindha, one of the accused is already facing a murder case for killing a Muslim atheist H Farook for posting content against Islam on social media.

The local police told The Federal that all these seven youths were earlier summoned by the NIA in March 2019. But, there were no searches at that time.

The search operation that started at around 6am in the morning, concluded at around 3pm. Soon after the search operation, all the youths were taken to the NIA office. They were being interrogated when this report was being published.

During the raid, NIA sleuths seized 14 mobiles phones, 29 SIM cards, 10 pen drives, three laptops, six memory cards, four hard disc drives, an internet dongle and 13 CDs/ DVDs besides a dagger, an electric baton, 300 air-gun pellets and a large number of incriminating documents and few PFI/ SDMI pamphlets from the houses and work places of the six youths.

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