A new twist has emerged in the Anti-Terrorism Squad’s (ATS) investigations into the case of the missing Malwani men. The ATS suspects that the 17-year-old Pune girl — named ‘Radical Gun’ in jihadi chat rooms — was in touch with one of the Malwani four, and could have been instrumental in radicalising him.
The ATS found one ‘Wajid Sheikh’ in the girl’s online list. They suspect it is the same Wajid (right) from Malwani. (Left) IOC manager Mohammad Sirajuddin being escorted by cops.
ATS officers, who have gone through the girl’s contact list have stumbled upon one Wajid Sheikh, who they suspect is the same person who went missing from Malwani and was traced to Pune recently.
Incidentally, the Pune ATS started interrogating the girl in the same week when the Malwani men left home, and reached Pune.
According to sources, on December 10, the Rajasthan ATS had arrested Indian Oil Corporation’s (IOC) marketing manager Mohammad Sirajuddin (30) from Jaipur. He was held on charges of working for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), publicising its ideology online and mainly, instigating youths to join ISIS.
He was booked under provisions of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967. Sirajuddin is currently being interrogated by the ATS and central agencies. The ATS zeroed in on the Pune girl during his interrogation. ATS officers managed to reach her on December 18.
Similar name crops up
An ATS officer said, “Sirajuddin had given her a list of a few people. We even went through an online list of the girl’s group. We were shocked to find a name resembling that of one of the Malwani four, Wajid Sheikh. We suspect that it is the same Wajid who went missing, and was traced by our ATS team in Pune. We are currently verifying this, but both Wajid and girl are tough nuts to crack.”
The officer added, “Sirajuddin had tasked the girl with radicalising others. He had one lakh followers on Facebook. The girl was promised that she would go to Syria by 2017, where she could pursue medical studies and help ISIS. She was very good in putting forward the ideology, and had radicalised several youths.”
“We are trying to solve the mystery behind the Pune angle. She was part of a highly complex network of ISIS sympathisers,” said the officer. Currently, the girl is being de-radicalised by her parents and Muslim clerics. She is being taught the actual meaning of jihad and Islam.
Meanwhile, from the four missing Malwani men, two have been brought back to Mumbai. Wajid Sheikh and Noor Mohammad Shaikh are being jointly interrogated by the Mumbai ATS.
Difficult to trace sympathisers online
ATS sources said it is difficult to trace ISIS sympathisers online since they keep shifting between several proxy chat rooms.
An officer said, “These people communicate on several proxy chat rooms so that we don’t trace them. Every day, they make different chat rooms and delete it after communicating, so it is very difficult and next to impossible to trace them.”