The National Investigation Agency has arrested three Muslims in Tamil Nadu for alleged links with the Al Qaeda and ISIS and charged them with collecting funds from abroad to carry out terror attacks .
It is also probing whether the three are linked to the Easter Sunday bomb attacks on churches in Sri Lanka that left over 250 dead.
The arrested are Syed Mohammed Bukhari from Chennai and Hassan Ali Yunusmaricar and Mohammed Yusufuddin Harish Mohammed of Nagapattinam, 250 km south of Chennai.
The arrests followed searches in the residence and office of Bukhari in Mannadi and Vepery in Chennai and similar raids on the two Nagapattinam suspects and the recovery of computer hard disks and pamphlets calling for the establishment of an Islamic state in India, the NIA said in a statement.
It said the suspects were part of a new outfit Ansarulla.
“It is learnt that the accused and their associates had collected funds and made preparations to carry out terrorist attacks in India with the intention of establishing Islamic rule”, the NIA said .
The raids and arrests followed registration of cases against them on July 9 under the Indian Penal Code and the Unlawful Activities( Prevention) Act on the basis of “credible information” that the three were planning to wage a war against India.
Two NIA teams from Kerala and Tamil Nadu raided the office of Wahdath-e-Islami Hind in Mannadi at six in the morning on Saturday and took into custody its head Bukhari from his office in an apartment complex in Vepery, both in Chennai. Bukhari has since been taken to Kerala to probe if he has any links with extremists in that State.
Wadath denied it has any links with the new outfit Ansarulla. Bukhari was the State president of Wahdath, which was formed in UP in 2006 as a charitable organization and which set up its branch in Tamil Nadu in 2009.
A member of the Wadath, denying links with Ansarulla, said:”There is nothing hidden about our activities. We have been preaching against liquor consumption, taking loan on interest and prostitution. Some of our teachings are being portrayed in a bad light.’
He charged:” We were not even told why were being questioned. These all attempts to suppress Islamic activities and isolate us from the rest of the community “
The suspects from Nagapattinam were arrested after raids in Manjakollai and Sikkal and brought to Chennai on Sunday.
From the three suspect, the NIA officials are believed to have recovered nine mobile phones, 15 SIM cards, seven memory cards, three laptops, two tablets, five hard disks, six pen drives and three CDS/DVDs. Officials say they have also recovered magazines and pamphlets, posters, notices and books showing support to banned outfits like ISIS and Al queda.
Officials have said the three suspects kept in touch with the banned outfits abroad through the social media.