KOCHI: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has registered a case against the six-member Islamic State (IS) module that had planned terrorist attacks in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The accused are also associated with Sri Lanka blast mastermind Zahran Hashim. The key member of the module was a Facebook friend of Zahran Hashim and was following his online speeches for the past two years.
As part of the investigation, NIA raided seven places at Coimbatore on Wednesday. The FIR was filed before NIA Court in Kochi recently.
The persons arraigned as accused are: Mohammed Azharuddin of Coimbatore; Azharuddin T of Nanjundapuram, Podanur; Sheik Hidyathullah, Alameen Colony, South Ukkadam; Aboobacker M of Kuniamuthur; Sadham Hussain of Aasath Nagar, Karimbukadai and Ibrahim Shahin of Mania Thottam. “The accused are being interrogated. We have also summoned some suspects for interrogation,” said a source.
According to NIA, during its investigation into Indian links with the accused persons in Sri Lanka blast, they received information that an IS module based in Coimbatore was actively recruiting youth and planning attacks in south India, mainly in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. “While probing the social media activities of the group and its members, we found Mohammed Azharuddin was a Facebook friend of Sri Lanka blast mastermind Zahran Hashim. He was also the founder of the module. The group held clandestine meetings and were planning terror strikes at religious places in Kerala and Tamil Nadu,” said the source.
NIA is also searching for a youth in Kerala who was associated with Mohammed Azharuddin. “The group had conducted online drives to recruit youths from Kerala and Tamil Nadu. They targeted like-minded persons to further the activities of IS in south India,” the source said
Earlier, NIA had arrested a Palakkad native Riyas Aboobacker who was also following Zahran Hashim and wanted to conduct a suicide attack.