NEW DELHI: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday busted an IS-inspired terror module following massive raids at various places and arrested at least 10 terror suspects from Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.
The apex anti-terror probe agency said that the members of the alleged terror module wanted to carry out fidayeen attacks in near future and had set eyes on VVIPs.
''Level of preparation suggests their aim was to carry out explosions in near future by remote control blasts and fidayeen attacks. This is a new ISIS-inspired module, they were in touch with a foreign agent. Their identities are yet to be established,'' NIA IG Alok Mittal told reporters.
''Their targets were political persons and other important personalities and vital and security installations,'' he added.
Sharing more details about how the anti-terror agency busted the alleged terror module, NIA IG said, ''We conducted searches at 17 locations in Uttar Pradesh and Delhi in connection with a new ISIS module styled as 'Harkat-ul-Harb-e-Islam' which was in an advanced stage of carrying out a series of blasts.''
“Searches were conducted in Delhi’s Seelampur and UP’s Amroha, Hapur, Meerut and Lucknow. Large quantities of explosive material, weapons and ammunition including a country-made rocket launcher have been recovered from them,'' the NIA IG said.
Mittal, while addressing a press briefing in the national capital, said that the agency has so far detained 16 people and formally arrested ten suspects in this connection. They are being interrogated at the moment for more leads.
''Five people were picked up from the western Uttar Pradesh district of Amroha following a joint operation with the UP Anti-Terrorist Squad, and five others from Delhi,'' the NIA Inspector General said.
The NIA also published the list of suspects arrested by it following joint raids in UP and Delhi.
NIA crack down ISIS module ‘Harkat-ul-Harb-e-Islam’. Ten accused arrested.https://t.co/RUGbSk05K0
— NIA India (@NIA_India) 26 December 2018
Several incriminating documents were recovered from the suspects, the NIA IG said.
''Total amount worth Rs 7.5 lakh have been recovered, nearly 100 mobile phone, 135 SIM cards, laptops and memory cards have also been also seized. After initial interrogation of the 16 suspects, we have arrested 10 accused,'' Mittal said.
The members of the newly-traced Islamic State module 'Harkat-ul-Harb-e-Islam' were allegedly planning terror attacks in north India, especially Delhi, he confirmed.
The searches started at different locations earlier this morning and are still underway at some places, the NIA IG said.
Mittal said that the man who was heading the alleged terror module has been identified as Mufti Sohail, who hails from Amroha. One pistol, explosive material and some cash were recovered from him.
''The gang leader of the module is called Mufti Sohail who stays in Delhi and is a native of Amroha in UP where he works at a mosque,'' Mittal said.
On the basis of the information provided by him, parallel raids were conducted in Simbhaoli, Lucknow and other places, the NIA IG said.
In east Delhi's Jafarabad area, the NIA team carried out searches along with the Delhi Police's Special Cell and recovered seven pistols and swords.
The members of the alleged terror module wanted to target important government offices, vital installations, crowded public places and top political figures, he said on the basis of the information obtained by the agency.
There were at least five such teams of the alleged terror module in Delhi which were planning to carry out attacks on important offices in the national capital simultaneously, Mittal said.
The NIA IG said that further questioning of those nabbed would reveal vital information about the module, their plans and handlers.
He, however, said that the investigation in the case is at the initial level, but the agency has obtained very credible information from the suspects.
The arrested suspects were in touch with their handlers through WhatsApp and other social media tools.
The terror module was largely self-funded as its members collected money by selling gold ornaments in local markets, the NIA IG said.
The terror module was under NIA surveillance for some time following inputs of their suspicious activities, Mittal told reporters.