ISIS sympathiser who conspired terror attacks in Mumbai arrested
MUMBAI: The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad has
arrested a city-based software engineer, who admired the middle-east terror
group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, for allegedly conspiring to blow up US establishments
here including a school.
Anees Ansari, 24, who worked at a multi-national
software company was apprehended from his office in suburban Andheri and
produced before a court on Sunday which remanded him in police custody till
October 26, an ATS official said today.
The online chats of Ansari, whose office job involved
designing navigation maps, hinted at a plot to target US establishments
including a school in suburban Bandra, the official said.
Ansari was booked under section 120 (B) (criminal
conspiracy) read with 302 (murder) of Indian Penal Code, and relevant sections
of Information Technology Act.
He sympathised with ISIS fighters and described, in
his online conversations, the Americans as tormentors. ATS also seized his
computers, a mobile phone, and has obtained `mirror images’ to extract the
“Our team that keeps a close watch on online posts
sometime ago got the wind of his shady activities which suggested that he had
been chatting with two persons based in UK and Australia who have been
indoctrinated to believe in the extremist ideologies,” the ATS official said.
The online discussions about a plan to target an
American school in the city alerted the ATS, which led to his arrest.
The ATS officer claimed that it had gathered enough
evidence to suggest that Ansari had been chatting — through a Facebook account
in a fake name — about punishing Americans and defending the ISIS which
according to him was the victim in the current turbulence in Syria and Iraq.
“A lot of Jihadi material, videos and literature
related to ISIS and its leaders was shared with him by the two people who were
chatting with him for nearly two years,” the officer said.
“His online interaction clearly indicated his ill-intentions
but we are verifying how well he has prepared himself to execute the plot. Our
interrogation would focus on the places he had visited, the persons he had met
and the reasons therefore,” the officer said.
Ansari lived in suburban Kurla with his parents and
two younger siblings, and according to sources, he had applied for a passport a
month ago, which has led the investigators to suspect that he planned to leave
the country to support/join the ISIS.
In May this year, four youths from neighbouring Kalyan
town — Arif Majeed, Shaheen Tanki, Fahad Shaikh and Aman Tandel — had left
India to visit holy places in the Middle East, but disappeared thereafter. They
are suspected to have joined the ISIS. On August 26, Majeed was reportedly
killed in bombing.