Mudabbir Mushtaq Shaikh, believed to be Islamic State of Iraq and Syria's primary recruiter in India, says he didn't 'misuse' the money, and spent it on recruits and conducting meetings
It professional Mudabbir Mushtaq Shaikh (34), who was arrested on Friday from his rented apartment in Mumbra, received Rs 8 lakh from ISIS through hawala, investigators revealed. Shaikh is said to be the terror group’s primary recruiter in India. In his statement, Shaikh claimed he did not misuse the cash, but distributed it among recruits.
“Shaikh said he gave Rs 50,000 to Hussain Khan, the Mazgaon youth who was arrested by the NIA on Friday night, and Rs 3 lakh to a Lucknow-based youth. He also claims to have distributed the cash among a few others in Mumbai and other states. He said he didn’t misuse the cash, but spent it on meetings he attended in Mumbai, Lucknow, Aurangabad and a few other states. He was said to be the Amir (deputy) of the extremist group in India and hence the cash was sent to him,” said an investigating officer.
During interrogation, Shaikh claimed he and his family survived the last 18 months on his savings of R30 lakh and the rent he received from a property he owns. Shaikh has been booked under section 125 (waging war against any Asiatic power in alliance with the government) of the Indian Penal Code and various sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
Officers who interrogated Shaikh for more than three hours in his kitchen, following Friday’s raid, claimed to have shadowed his activities for the last six months before taking him down. “Before raiding his residence, our officers kept a watch and also manned the area since Thursday, as we were unaware whether he was armed or not. But considering that he was with his family, chances of him attacking us were less likely. His presence was confirmed when he left home to offer prayers and returned around 7 pm,” said an officer who was part of the raid.
Reason for quitting job
Shaikh, a BCom graduate and an IT professional, was employed at an IT firm in Goregaon where he made Rs 60,000 per month. But he left the job 18 months ago, as he was not getting enough time to promote the ISIS module. “Shaikh said he worked as a web designer for the private firm. He claimed that his boss was harassing him over delayed submission of projects. This he said took a toll on his job of spreading the ISIS ideology. Hence, he quit the job and dedicated all his time in promoting the module,” said an officer. Shaikh claimed ISIS offers two options to its recruit. Either become a soldier and join them on the battlefield in Iraq and Syria or become a recruiter and spread propaganda to attract youth.
“Though Shaikh wanted to go to Syria, his handler, Yusuf-al-Hindi, asked him to stay in India and help their cause by providing them with amenities and fresh recruits,” the officer added.
About Yusuf Al-Hindi
Mohammed Sultan Armar alias Yusuf Al-Hindi was shot dead during the battle of Kobane in March 2015. After his death, Sultan’s younger brother Mohammed Shafi proclaimed himself the next Yusuf Al-Hindi and is now operating from Waziristan.
Following Sultan’s death, Shafi is now responsible for updating ISIS chief Abu Bakar Al-Bagdadi about the group’s progress. Investi-gators say Shaikh was in direct touch with Sultan and Shafi, who hailed from Bhatkal in Karnataka. They went to Pakistan and initiated the online recruitment drive in India. The brothers were also key members of the Ansar-u-Tawhid (AUT), an offshoot of the Indian Mujahideen (IM), which pledged its allegiance to the ISIS, claiming that they were following the word of the Prophet.