'Shahnawaz conducted recce of VIP political leaders' routes in two states,' says Delhi cops

The accused, a highly-qualified Mining Engineer with an elaborate knowledge of explosives and blasting had also analyzed the map of West Rajasthan to find out the IED testing point.
The Special Cell of the Delhi Police averted a major terror strike with the arrest of three suspected ISIS operatives.
The Special Cell of the Delhi Police averted a major terror strike with the arrest of three suspected ISIS operatives.

NEW DELHI: The most-wanted suspected terrorist Shahnawaz Alam had conducted reconnaissances of some VIP political leaders in at least two states in order to plant Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) so as to assassinate them, a senior Delhi Police official said.

"He [Shahnawaz Alam] conducted recce of some potential areas like crowded places, Mazar/ Dargah, routes of VIP political leaders in Mumbai, Surat, Vadodara, Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad for planting IEDs and target killings," the officer said.

The accused, a highly-qualified Mining Engineer with an elaborate knowledge of explosives and blasting had also analyzed the map of West Rajasthan to find out the IED testing point.

The Special Cell of the Delhi Police averted a major terror strike with the arrest of three suspected ISIS operatives among which one, Shahnawaz Alam, was most wanted on their list while two others were identified as Md Rizwan and Md Arshad.

According to a senior police officer, privy to the probe, the accused Shahnawaz met with Rizwan Ali in Shaheen Masjid, Shaheen Bagh, Delhi in 2016. Over a period of time, they became good friends.

"Shahnawaz already followed many pro-ISIS telegram entities/channels and used to discuss about those channels with Rizwan Ali who was also inclined to ISIS ideology," the official said.

As per the official, Shahnawaz and Rizwan wanted to go for Hijrat and in order to collect some funds for it, both of them got involved in crime. Shahnawaz was arrested in Hazaribagh, Jharkhand in multiple cases of dacoity and theft in 2019 and remained in jail for around 9 months. In December 2020, he was bailed out of jail.

Later on, he started communicating with a foreign-based handler of ISIS. Meanwhile, Rizwan also established contact with the same handler.

Both Shahnawaz and Rizwan visited Lavasa Mahabaleshwar, Goa, Hubli, Saraswati Wildlife area in Karnataka, Udupi, Kerala, Valsad Wildlife Sanctuary, Nallamala Mountain ranges, Chandauli to find suitable hideouts for their stay in Western Ghats and to set up a base there.

Made, tested IEDs in Delhi

During preliminary interrogation of the accused people, it was revealed that they even made Improvised Explosive Devices in Delhi and even tested them at some unknown places in the city.

"They made some IEDs in Delhi and tested the same at several places in Delhi, Rajasthan and Haldwani, Uttarakhand," the official said.

Since December 2022, on the instructions of foreign-based handlers, Shahnawaz and Rizwan along with their other associates had started accumulating material in Delhi for the preparation of IEDs in furtherance of their conspiracy to carry out blasts in Delhi. 

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