BENGALURU: The prosecution of Mehdi Biswas, arrested on charges of tweeting on behalf of the Islamic State and lodged in Parappana Agrahara jail, is yet to begin.
Biswas’ parents are trying to keep his spirits up by visiting him as frequently as they can. “I believe my son is innocent. They arrested him a year ago, but have not even appointed a public prosecutor to start the trial,” his mother Mumtaz Biswas told Express, minutes after she walked out of the prison visitors’ room on Monday.
He maintains he is innocent and is tense because nothing is happening in his case. Every 15 days, police produce him in court and extend his custody, she said. “We are told there can be progress only if there is a PP, but no one has been appointed yet,” Mumtaz rued.
She said Biswas, who was a manufacturing executive with a well-known company in Bengaluru, does not speak Arabic, and was not talking to anyone related to any terror outfit.
“All he did was follow what was happening on the Internet and say the same thing in his tweets,” Mumtaz maintained. Biswas, arrested on December 13, 2014, from an apartment near Peenya, is charged with operating the Twitter handle @ShamiWitness, and spreading violent propaganda about developments in the Levantine region of Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt and Libya.
The police said Biswas worked at his office during the day and was actively tweeting all night. The chargesheet mentions details of 855 conversations with 576 followers.
The city police submitted a 36,986-page chargesheet six months ago. Biswas was charged under eight sections of the Indian Penal Code for unlawful activities, conspiracy, supporting a terrorist organisation, waging war against the state, sedition and promoting enmity.
He is also charged with aiding and abetting a terrorist organisation through his Twitter account, police said, adding that they had found 1,22,000 Twitter messages sent to 18,000 followers.
Speaking to Express, a senior police officer involved in the case said investigators had filed a chargesheet and left it to the Law Department to appoint a prosecutor.
A senior official from the Home Department said the Director of Prosecution had identified a Special Public Prosecutor named Bhat for the case, but procedures remained incomplete.
NO IS Alert for B’luru: Megharikh
City police have not received any alert from Central agencies on the Islamic State group, said City Police Commissioner N S Megharikh on Monday. “The Central agencies have not sent specific alerts. But city police keep receiving alerts on terror strikes and most of the time, the alerts are general in nature and vague. Such alerts are normally received during festivities and towards the end of the year. Till now, there has been no specific alert about possible attacks by IS here,” he said. Adding that the city police were fully equipped to handle any situation, Megharikh requested the public to not give in to rumours and panic.