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Bengaluru madrassa teacher with Al Qaeda links behind bars

January 08, 2016 15:41 IST

A madrassa teacher from Bengaluru has been arrested by Delhi Police for suspected links with Al Qaeda, making it the fourth arrest in its ongoing operation against the terror outfit.

Maulana Anzar Shah was arrested in Bengaluru by a team of Delhi Police's Special Cell on Wednesday following which he was brought to Delhi on transit remand and produced before a court on Thursday which sent him to police custody till January 20, said a police official.

In December, Delhi Police had arrested three suspected operatives of Al Qaeda module in the India sub-continent.

While Mohammed Asif (41), the first one to be arrested, is believed to be one of the founding members and the Indian head (amir) of AQIS's motivation, recruitment and training wing, was held from Seelampur in northeast Delhi, another operative Abdul Rahman (37) was arrested from Jagatpur area of Cuttack in Odisha.

The third arrest, Zafar Masood, allegedly acted as a financier for the module. He was arrested from mohalla Deepa Sarai in UP's Sambhal district. They were all booked under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Shah, the latest arrest in connection with the module, had met Mohammed Asif at a religious congregation in Bengaluru, following which he was introduced to Abdul Rahman and Zafar Masood.

He was asked to act as a provider of logistics support whenever the need arose, said an official privy to the investigation.

The Special Cell has evidence of communication between Shah, Abdul Rehman and Zafar Masood, too, mostly carried out through voice over internet protocol (VoIP) services. The investigators have also traced a money trail connecting Shah and Masood, the official said.

A few more persons are presently under the police scanner and more arrests are likely, the official added.

AQIS was floated by Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahari himself in September 2014 following a meeting somewhere in Afghanistan-Pakistan region which reportedly had in its quorum the entire Grand Council (Arabian Shura) of Al Qaeda, including Al Zawahiri's son in law.

Despite several Indians being present at the training camp, Maulana Asim Umar alias Sanaul Haq and Mohammed Asif are believed to be the only Indians present in the council, police said.

After Umar was anointed the chief, it is believed that some unexpected visitors met him, including Indian Mujahideen chief Riyaz Bhatkal, who is still at large, and other senior IM commanders like Baba Sajid, who was recently reported to have been killed in Syria, police said.

Asif was Umar's chosen candidate and, with the help of his deputy Qasim, Umar had contacted Asif through a social networking site, a year before he left for Tehran on a 'ziyarat' visa, exclusively meant for visiting a holy shrine in Tehran.

Umar, Asif and Qasim are all natives of Sambhal in UP, police added. 

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