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ISIS leader Zahran Hashim’s videos used to radicalise Tamil Nadu jihadi gang: NIA




Videos and speeches of Sri Lankan Islamic State leader Zahran Hashim were used by ‘jihadi’ gang ‘Shahadat is our Goal’ to radicalise youths in Tamil Nadu during 2017-2018 calling for violent jihad to liberate their associates lodged in prisons.

Various social media groups, especially on WhatsApp, were created by the gang which later started disseminating materials advocating violent jihad in the region. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) revealed these facts in its charge sheet filed against 10 arrested members of the gang in a special court in Chennai on Saturday.

Sri Lankan cleric Moulvi Hashim was the alleged mastermind behind the bomb attacks that hit the country’s capital Colombo as well as the towns of Negombo and Batticaloa on Easter Sunday in 2019. Over 250 people, including 45 children and 40 foreign nationals, were killed in the deadly explosions.

Sheik Dawood, 33, Mohamed Rifas,37, Muparish Ahamed, 23, Abubakar Siddiq, 24, Ahamed Imithiyas, 31, Mohamed Rashid, 25, Hameed Asfar, 23, Liyakath Ali, 30, Sajith Ahamed, 23, and Rizwan Mohammed, 26 – all from different districts in Tamil Nadu – are the 10 arrested accused against whom the NIA framed charges under the Unlawful (Activities) Prevention Act and Arms Act.

The case was originally registered on April 2, 2018 at Keelakarai Police Station in Ramnathapuram district of Tamil Nadu after the arrest of Mohamed Rifas, Muparish Ahamed and Abupakkar Sithik from Keelakarai. Lethal weapons including swords along with pamphlets pertaining to the terrorist gang ‘Shahadat is our Goal’ were seized from their possession and the NIA re-registered the case on January 10, 2019.

Investigation in the case has established that the charge-sheeted accused persons were radicalised by violent jihadi ideology, said the NIA.

“Prime accused Sheik Dawood and Mohamed Rifas had conspired with co-accused and organised meetings at various places in Tamil Nadu, since Ramadan, 2017, with the intention of radicalising and recruiting the co-accused and others for ‘shahadat’ (martyrdom) to establish Islamic rule in India,” NIA said.

“The accused had created various social media groups, especially on WhatsApp and were disseminating materials advocating violent jihad, including the videos and speeches of the Sri Lankan ISIS leader Zahran Hashim.”

The accused had also prepared pamphlets titled “Shahadat is our Goal” calling for violent jihad to liberate their associates lodged in prisons, said the anti-terror agency, adding Sheik Dawood and Mohammed Rifas had also attempted to carry out terrorist acts by procuring illegal firearms in order to liberate their jailed associates.


Youth beaten up on charges of theft in Ranchi, dies




A 22-year-old youth was allegedly lynched on charges of theft in state capital Ranchi, the Jharkhand police said.

According to the police, Sachin Kumar Verma, a resident of Nawatoli village situated near the Kotwali police station, was brutally beaten up by a group of people on charges of theft on Sunday night. The police rescued him after getting information about him being held hostage.

The police admitted him to a local hospital for treatment. However, Sachin died on Monday morning while undergoing treatment.

The matter is related to the theft of a Tata 407 vehicle from the Upper Bazaar area on Sunday. Sachin was caught by a group of people and brutally thrashed. A person however, informed police while he was being manhandled.

The victim’s kin gheraoed the Kotwali police station on Monday following his death. The police is yet to arrest the accused involved in Sachin’s killing.

The family members said Sachin was innocent and had gone out from his home to celebrate his birthday on Sunday.

The police is investigating the matter and assured the family of arresting the people involved in the incident.

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Indian Coast Guard seizes Sri Lankan ship for drug trafficking




Fearing apprehension, a Sri Lankan fishing ship dumped 260 kg of contraband which it was carrying in the Lakshadweep sea, the Indian Coast Guard said after successfully averting a major drug transshipment through the sea route.

The coastal security forces detained six crew members for the interrogation.

“The value of these narcotics in international market is approximately Rs 2,100 crore,” Indian Coast Guard said in a statement on Monday.

The coast guard ships and aircraft while on patrol off the Lakshadweep islands observed suspicious movements of three Sri Lankan fishing boats.

The boats were continuously monitored by the coast guards units and were subsequently intercepted and checked at the opportune moment.

Initial investigation revealed that Sri Lankan fishing boat Akarsha Duwa was at sea for longer duration of over a fortnight.

“Inconsistent information received and abnormal behaviour of crew further raised the suspicion level,” the Coast guarding force said.

As the crew were giving misleading statements, they were interrogated tactfully upon which the crew admitted having been involved in smuggling of narcotics and contraband.

While en-route, the crew noticed presence of Indian Coast Guard ships and aircraft in the area.

“With the fear of getting apprehended, the crew decided to flee the area. However, on realizing that fleeing from ICG ships was impossible, they dropped five bags of contraband weighing around 260 kg of narcotics in water,” the force said.

Due to rough sea conditions off Minicoy Islands the boats were brought to Vizhinjam near Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday for further interrogation by the concerned security agencies.

Post rummaging and joint investigation at Vizhinjam, SLFB Akarsha Duwa along with six Sri Lankan crew was detained for final investigation.

Two other Sri Lankan boats with crew were released for handing over to Sri Lankan authorities for further investigation due to considerable quantity of fish stock onboard.

In a similar operation in November 2020, the coastal security forces had apprehended Sri Lankan fishing boat ‘Shenaya Duwa’ off Kanyakumari, carrying narcotics worth value approximately Rs 1,000 crore in the international market.

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NIA to probe explosives recovery case near Mukesh Ambani’s house




The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday started an investigation into the case related to explosives recovered in an abandoned car found near industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s house in Mumbai.

The agency took over the probe following orders received from the Ministry of Home Affairs. The case was registered at Gamdevi police station in Mumbai on February 25 after a Mahindra Scorpio was found parked on Carmichael Road near ‘Antilia’, Ambani’s residence. A Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad (BDDS) team reached the spot immediately.

“NIA has received orders from MHA for investigation of the case being probed by Mumbai Police. This case relates to the recovery of explosives from a Mahindra Scorpio parked at Carmichael Road, Mumbai,” the NIA said.

The anti-terror agency said it is in the process of re-registering the case.

The Scorpio with gelatin, an explosive material, was found parked near Ambani’s house in South Mumbai on February 25 evening. A letter was also found inside the vehicle. The vehicle was seized by police then. The Crime Branch of Mumbai Police was conducting the probe.

As per reports, the Mumbai Police team had recovered 21 gelatin sticks, each weighing about 125 grams, from the abandoned vehicle. The police then said that the total weight of the explosive was 2.60 kg, which is enough to explode the entire car if gelatin sticks are attached to other explosive components.

The vehicle had a fake number plate. The registration number on the vehicle’s number plate was the same as that of an SUV in Ambani’s security detail.

Earlier on Monday, Maharashtra Home Minister Anil Deshmukh had said that the Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) had registered a murder case and launched investigations into the mystery of Thane businessman Mansukh Hiren’s body being recovered from the Thane Creek wetlands on March 5.

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