LUCKNOW/MUMBAI — A major multi-state operation apprehended 10 suspected ISIS operatives April 20, averting a major terror attack in India, authorities have said.
Police teams from Delhi, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh conducted the operation, which resulted in the arrest of four suspected terrorists from the ISIS Khorasan module and the detention of six others, officials said.
The suspects were arrested in raids that took place the morning of April 20. Raids were conducted in Mumbra, Maharashtra; Jalandhar, Punjab; Narkatiaganj, Bihar; and Bijnor and Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh, officials added.
Inspector General of the UP Anti-Terrorist Squad Aseem Arun, said in a statement delivered in Noida that four people were arrested on charges of hatching terror conspiracies. He further said the accused were planning a major terror attack in India and that important documents relating to ISIS were seized.
Arun said two people, Mufti Faizan and Tanveer, allegedly connected to ISIS, were arrested in the Bijnor district. Nazim Shamshad Ahmed, 26, from Bijnor, was arrested in Mumbra township in the Thane district, adjacent to Mumbai. Another suspect identified as Muzammil was arrested in Jalandhar, Punjab.
According to a UP ATS statement in Lucknow, six others were taken into custody and were being questioned in Noida, on the outskirts of Delhi.
The accused had met one another on the internet, Arun said, adding that central security agencies played an important role in the operation.
According to the IG, the UP ATS seized important documents following a March 7 encounter in Lucknow, in which a suspected terrorist from the Khorasan module was killed. Following the encounter, the investigation was expanded to five states.
The ATS received information that ISIS had been expanding its network in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab and Bihar, and that youths from these states had joined the terror organization.
"All those arrested are in the age group of 18 to 25 years and were living in different places like Mumbai, Jalandhar and UP. We have also found that they were definitely influenced by the material available on the internet," UP Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Daljit Chaudhary said in Lucknow.
Investigations show one of the suspects wanted to finance the group and that the suspects were in regular communication about carrying out a major strike in the near future.
With the help of surveillance, police and agencies from different states arrested the suspects before they could carry out an attack, the ADG said.
A spokesperson from the UP ATS said it is suspected that the arrested were looking for recruits in Bihar, UP and Maharashtra.