After 50 days, missing Malwani man held in Delhi

Feb 06, 2016, 11:40 IST | Saurabh Vaktania and Samiullah Khan

Based on info from a central intelligence agency, Delhi Police's Special Cell arrested suspected ISIS sympathiser Mohsin Sheikh from Kashmere Gate at Inter-State Bus Terminal (ISBT) in the national capital on Thursday

In less than a fortnight after the NIA and the State ATS collectively arrested two suspected ISIS recruiters from Mumbra, officials from Delhi police’s Special Cell nabbed another Mumbai-based ISIS sympathiser in the national capital on Thursday night.

Acting on specific information, the Special Cell arrested 26-year-old Mohsin Ibrahim Sayyed aka Mohsin Sheikh from the Kashmere Gate at Inter-State Bus Terminal (ISBT) in Delhi. Mohsin is one of the four Malwani men who had left home to join the ISIS in Syria. He was soon to leave for Syria after completing his pending task here. A team of ATS officers from Mumbai have left for Delhi to investigate Mohsin and gather information.

Mohsin Sheikh
Mohsin Sheikh

A police officer said, "The Maharashtra ATS was also searching for Mohsin. The Delhi police’s Special Cell, which had specific information from the central intelligence agency, arrested him from the Kashmere gate at ISBT in Delhi. They nabbed Mohsin before he could meet one of his associates in Delhi."

Police officials said Mohsin was in touch with four alleged ISIS sympathisers arrested last month by the Special Cell. The quartet had planned to target the Ardh Kumbh Mela in Haridwar. The four were identified as Aklaq ur Rehman, Mohammad Osama, Mohammad Azim Shah and Mehroz and were arrested from Uttarakhand. Mohsin had given them Rs 50,000.

ISIS link
A police officer said, "After he left home, Mohsin was in constant touch with ISIS Chief recruiter (India) Mudabbir Shaikh from Mumbra. He was also in contact with Syria-based Ansar-ut Tawhid fi Bilad al-Hind (AuT) chief Shafi Armar via internet. The AuT has pledged its support to ISIS for disseminating its propaganda across India. Another Malwani man, Ayaz, was helping Mohsin execute his plans."

Following his arrest, Special Cell officials recovered Rs 85,000, two SIM cards and a mobile phone from Mohsin. A police officer said the phone is password protected and a great deal of information will be revealed upon unlocking it.

"Mohsin was in constant touch with Hawala operators in Mumbai, Pune and Chennai. We are trying to unearth his network," the officer said, adding, "Mohsin played a key role in recruiting people and procuring funds through Hawala. He was supposed to leave India shortly."

Mohsin has been booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and is the first one from the city and 21st from the country to be arrested for suspected links with the extremist group. He has been remanded in police custody till February 10 by a Delhi court.

Kin claim innocence
Neighbours claimed Mohsin’s father, Ibrahim, received a call from Delhi police at 5 am yesterday, informing him about his son’s arrest. They said, an hour later, Ibrahim and his wife Safiya left for Delhi. Currently, Mohsin’s grandmother Zubeda and his sister Nagma are at home. One of the neighbours said, "A few days before Mohsin left home, his wife Heena went to her mother’s place and never returned. They have a son (5) and a daughter (3)."

Speaking to mid-day, Zubeda said, "Our son is innocent. We’ll only believe once he tells us personally. Like other children, who came back home, I want Mohsin to come back safely. Allah knows all."

Mohsin worked as an autorickshaw driver and is a history-sheeter. His parents were garment sellers in Andheri. After Mohsin left home, his sister took care of their parents and grandmother.

Another neighbour said, "Mohsin was deeply religious. He would punish his children by not giving them food if they failed to offer namaz five times a day. He didn’t even allow a TV at home."

The case
mid-day was the first to break the story about four Malwani men— Mohsin, Wajid Sheikh, Noor Mohammad and Ayaz Sultan — leaving the city to join ISIS. While Ayaz had already left on October 30, 2015, Mohsin, Wajid and Noor left on December 15. All four gave different reasons to their families for leaving home. While Mohsin said he was going to a friend’s wedding in Surat, Wajid left on the pretext of getting errors rectified in his Aadhar card. Noor said he was going to have tea with friends and Ayaz said he was going to Pune for an interview for a Saudi-based job. While ATS officials managed to trace Wajid and Noor to Pune and Sangli, respectively, they believe that Ayaz is working with the ISIS in Syria. They booked him under the UAPA.  

7-day NIA custody for 11 ISIS suspects
New Delhi:
Eleven suspected ISIS operatives, who were arrested from across the country for allegedly recruiting and financing people to join the terror group, were remanded in seven days NIA custody by a Delhi court yesterday. The accused, who had their faces covered, were produced before District Judge Amar Nath amidst tight security. According
to lawyers, who attended the in-camera proceedings, NIA sought extension for their custodial interro-gation by 10 more days.

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