NEW DELHI: In what is being termed a major breakthrough, the Special Cell of the Delhi Police has arrested three suspected ISIS terrorists, including one who was on the most wanted list of the National Investigative Agency (NIA) and was also carrying a reward of Rs 3 lakh on his arrest.
The suspected terrorist, identified as Shahnawaz Alam alias Abdullah alias Md. Ibrahim alias Prince (31), an engineer by profession, was hiding in Delhi after fleeing from Pune, Maharashtra. The other two were identified as Mohammad Rizwan Ashraf (28) and Md. Arshad Warsi (29).
All three alleged terrorists were produced before a Special UAPA Court in Delhi which sent them to a 7-day police custody remand.
Special Commissioner of Police (Special Cell) HGS Dhaliwal, in a special media briefing, said the Special Cell was keeping surveillance through all possible means on the activities of suspect operatives of ISIS and their contacts with a special focus on Delhi-centric suspects.
He said that credible inputs revealed that in order to carry out terror activities in India, while simultaneously trying to hide its role and to circumvent scrutiny by international agencies, Pak-ISI has created a façade of India-focused ISIS by using PAK-based and protected terrorists who are fugitive from India, namely Farahtullah Gauri and his son-in-law Shahid Faisal.
Both absconding accused, Gauri and Faisal, were involved in the Akshardham Temple attack case and are presently hiding in Pakistan while working for the spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
"One such module was identified with footprints in UP, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand & Maharashtra. While developing the information, two ISIS operatives namely Imran Khan and Yunus Saaki were arrested in Pune, Maharashtra by Pune Police. However, one of the arrested persons namely Shahnawaz Alam managed to escape from the police custody," the Special CP said.
The case was later transferred to NIA for further investigation, who later declared a reward of Rs 3 lakhs on the arrest of absconding terrorist Shahnawaz Alam and three other accused.
The senior official said that they got specific information that Shahnawaz Alam is moving along with one Rizwan Ali, a resident of Delhi, and they have been planning to carry out a terror attack in India.
"It was learnt that they were in an advanced stage of preparations and had procured Arms, Ammunition and Explosives for this purpose and had also set up a base in Delhi," the senior officer said, adding the cops kept developing further information on them and on October 1, coordinated multiple raids were carried out in three states -- Delhi, UP and Uttarakhand -- with the assistance Central Intelligence Agency and concerned state police.
According to the officer, Md. Arshad was the first to be arrested from Delhi and he disclosed that he is an accomplice of Shahnawaz Alam in the conspiracy to carry out terrorist activities in Delhi. He also revealed that Alam had procured Arms, Ammunition and Explosives and taken a rented room in Delhi in furtherance of their criminal conspiracy.
The second suspected ISIS terrorist Mohammad Rizwan Ashraf was also arrested in the present case from Lucknow, UP. He disclosed that he is a member of ISIS and is in communication with foreign-based handlers and remaining members of this module.
"He further said that Shahnawaz Alam and Rizwan took pledge (‘Baith’) into ISIS through him," the officer said. Thereafter, on October 1, a raid was conducted in Delhi on the instance of accused Md. Arshad and the prime accused and most wanted terrorist Shahnawaj Alam were arrested from a rented accommodation after a brief scuffle with the police team.
Notably, the cops found components that are used in making IEDs at the rented accommodation from where Alam was nabbed.