New Delhi: In more trouble for controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, a terror group linked to the dreaded global terrorist organisation Islamic State has called him as a major 'source of inspiration'.
A ToI report on Thursday said that Manseed alias Omar al-Hindi, the chief of IS-linked terror module which was recently busted by the NIA, had told the investigators that his men were motivated by his speeches and social media posts.
Manseed had worked for 12 years as part of the intelligence wing of Popular Front India (PFI) and reporting on activities of RSS and its functionaries in Kerala.
According to reports, Manseed and his alleged operatives were planning Nice-like attacks on community events, particularly an all-religion gathering in Kochi.
Manseed and his six men were even provided Rs 38,000 from abroad through Western Union to buy a second-hand heavy vehicle to be driven into the crowd, killing and maiming a large number of people, according to sources.
PFI later expelled Manseed after he married a woman from Philippines, he had told interrogators.
The 30-year-old relocated from Kerala to Qatar around eight years ago and was working as a sales executive in Doha.
Around 12-18 months ago, he started following online jihadi activity and would surf the internet for pro-IS blogs and posts. While interacting with jihad-minded people on social media, he encountered his Afghanistan-based handler Abu Aysha, who helped him put together a Facebook group called 'Ansar-ul-Khilaaf' comprising IS-leaning youth from Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
The group communicated using telegram and Tutanota encryption and would keep changing names to avoid detection. Abu Aysha would regularly send material against RSS and motivate the group to target Sangh workers.
The module wanted to eliminate three top RSS members of Kerala, two Kerala high court judges with "progressive views on Sharia law", rationalists and activists of the Muslim community and Jews based in Kodaikanal in Tamil Nadu.
The group also planned to procure arms and materials for explosives to execute their terror plans.
The group members also travelled to Kodaikanal on September 12 to conduct a recee for a possible attack on Jews there. However, they met with an accident en route and aborted the plan and then scheduled the attack for the first week of October.
The NIA, while scanning electronic devices seized from the accused, found material, including details on procuring material for explosives, making explosives from fireworks powder and bomb-making manuals.
The module led by Manseed was busted after being tracked by intelligence agencies for almost four to five months.