The National Investigation Agency (NIA) which conducted raids on Saturday in connection with its probe into the Islamic State – Khorasan Province (ISKP) case, said on Sunday that the accused were paid through crypto-currencies by their foreign-based handlers to create unrest in India.
The ISKP is an affiliate of the Islamic State group. Raids were conducted on Saturday at four locations in Seoni (Madhya Pradesh) and one location in Pune (Maharashtra).
An official said that searches were conducted at the houses of one Talha Khan at Pune and Akram Khan at Seoni.
This case was initially registered by the Special Cell of Delhi Police after the arrest of a Kashmiri couple — Jahanzaib Sami Wani, and his wife Hina Bashir Beigh from Okhla in Delhi. The couple was found to be affiliated with ISKP.
During the investigation, the role of another accused, Abdullah Basith — who was already lodged in Tihar Jail in another case being investigated by the NIA, also emerged .
The NIA carried out searches at three other locations in Seoni in the Shivmogga IS conspiracy case.
The places searched included the residential and commercial premises of suspects, Abdul Aziz Salafi and Shoeb Khan.
“In the Shivammoga case, as part of a conspiracy hatched from abroad, the accused persons Mohamed Shariq, Maaz Muneer Khan, Yasin and others, after getting instructions from their abroad-based handler targeted public and private properties, such as warehouses, liquor shops, hardware shops, vehicles and other properties belonging to members of a particular community and committed over 25 incidents of arson and sabotage,” the NIA said.
The official said that the accused even carried out a mock IED blast.
The NIA said as part of the larger conspiracy, the accused Mohamed Shariq planned to carry out IED blast at Kadri temple, Mangalore on November 19, 2022. However, the IED had exploded “prematurely”.
Abdul Salafi is a Maulana at the Seoni Jamia Masjid, while Shoeb sells automobile spare parts.
Salafi, along with his accomplice Shoeb, were found actively propagating pernicious ideas, such as “voting in elections is sinful for Muslims”.
The group led by Maulana Aziz Salafi was in the process of radicalising gullible Muslim youth of Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and many southern states through provocative and inflammatory speeches on YouTube.
They were also trying to bring together such radicalized individuals in Seoni district.
Initial examination of the suspects brought out the fact that “they are radically motivated individuals, who totally abhor the idea of democracy in India, and were preparing to carry out Jihad against the people who believe otherwise”, an official said.
They were using social media platforms for dissemination of false propaganda.
In furtherance of such efforts, Aziz Salafi was also in contact with the accused, Maaz Muneer Ahmed of Karnataka, who had procured the explosive materials for the trial blast. Maaz was arrested by NIA in November 2022.