MUMBAI: The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad on Wednesday clarified that a city youth, Wahid Sheikh, who was traced to Pune, after having gone missing from December 15, did not have any connection with the terrorist organisation Islamic State (IS) as suspected by local police as well as his family.
Senior Inspector Bhanupratap Barge who is the ATS in-charge in Pune said that the police have handed over Sheikh to his family in the distant suburb of Malwani after they did not find anything against him in the preliminary investigation.
“Wahid and his two friends left their home on December 15 on pretext of different reasons. They first went to Bengaluru, then Hyderabad and then to Chennai. Our informer tipped us that Wahid was coming to Pune from Chennai in a bus. We caught him on the bus,” Barge said.
He said local police had found material linked to IS on Wahid’s phone left at his home. “We have not found anything that could suggest he was in touch with IS. He had taken Rs 18,000 with him when he left home. We found Rs 10,000 in his possession. We didn’t arrest him,” Barge said.
The ATS, however, is not ready to give a clean chit to another missing youth Ayaz Sultan. “Wahid has admitted that Ayaz used to provide him with information on IS and discuss its activities with him. We have no clue of Ayaz’s whereabouts. We know that he has a passport,” Barge said.
Police are on the lookout for Wahid’s neighbour Mohsin Sheikh who was with him in the southern cities.