Gujarat: NIA files chargesheet against 5 alleged Al Qaeda operatives, including four Bangladesh nationals

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Friday filed a chargesheet in the special court here in Gujarat against five persons, including four Bangladesh nationals, for alleged links with terror outfit Al Qaeda and conspiring to carry out terror activities in India.

The chargesheet was submitted in the court of Special NIA Judge Kamal Sojitra by the agency’s special public prosecutor Amit Nair.

NIA investigations have unravelled a meticulously planned conspiracy orchestrated by Al Qaeda operatives based across the Indo-Bangladesh border in collaboration with the arrested individuals, aimed at carrying out terrorist acts and activities in India, said a release from the Central probe agency.

In May, the Gujarat Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) busted an Al Qaeda module and arrested four members hailing from Bangladesh who had been living illegally in Ahmedabad after entering India using forged and fraudulent identity documents.

A preliminary probe by ATS had revealed the four members of the proscribed terror outfit were trained by their handlers based in Bangladesh before they were sent to India to raise funds for Al Qaeda’s illegal activities, radicalising local youth and persuading them to join the terror outfit.

Considering the national security implications and international linkages, the Ministry of Home Affairs had transferred the case to NIA in June, said the official release.

The NIA registered a case in June under sections 38, 39 and 40 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), sections 14(a) & 14(b) of Foreigners Act as well as and 120-b, 465, 466 & 471 of Indian Penal Code.

The accused named in the chargesheet are Mohammed Sojib Miyan, Munna Khalid Ansari aka Munna Khan, Jahangir aka Ajharul Islam, Abdul Latif aka Mominul Ansari and Farid.

As per the chargesheet, Sojib Miyan, Munna Khan, Jahangir and Abdul Latif are citizens of Bangladesh who had procured forged documents to operate covertly within the country and advance their terrorist agenda.

Their actions were not limited to illegal entry but they were actively engaged in motivating, radicalizing and indoctrinating vulnerable Muslim youth in India in the extremist ideology of Al Qaeda, said the release.

They were also into collection of funds and transferring them to the handlers and agents of proscribed terrorist organisation Al Qaeda based on both sides of the border.

Investigations uncovered that two absconding accused Shariful Islam and Sahiba are members of Al Qaeda and are believed to be key handlers of the arrested individuals from across the border.

Acting on the explicit directives of these handlers, the accused infiltrated India through illegal means, subsequently procuring forged documents to settle in the country and operate discreetly in the furtherance of terrorist activities.

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The handlers provided comprehensive training, including the use of covert communication applications, to evade detection and ensure secrecy and anonymity of their activities, it said.

Furthermore, these handlers were instrumental in the radicalization and motivation of vulnerable Muslim youth in India.

Efforts are being made to identify the handlers through diplomatic efforts, for which a formal request has already been initiated by the NIA, it said.

During the investigations, many foreign agents were identified who had quietly settled in different parts of India with fake identity documents and had provided safe passage to other illegal infiltrators, harboured them and provided them Indian identity documents.

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