Mehdi didn't tweet on IS activities in India, Pak

Mehdi didn't tweet on IS activities in India, Pak

Bengaluru-based MNC employee Mehdi Masroor Biswas (24) had never tweeted about the possible involvement of Indian and Pakistani nationals in IS activities.

A day after West Bengal resident Mehdi, who was handling the influential pro-Islamic State (IS) Twitter account @ShamiWitness, was arrested by the police in a meticulously planned operation, sources said on Sunday that his now-defunct Twitter handle had received several queries from Saudi Arabia asking him about the role of Indian and Pakistan citizens in IS activities.

Those asking the questions were keen to know if the IS had recruited anybody from the two nations for an assignment.

However, Mehdi chose not to answer any such queries. He only updated the latest developments of IS to the handle's English-speaking followers, said an official from the Central Crime Branch (CCB) who is probing the case.

“The investigation so far has revealed that Mehdi is just a propagandist of IS ideology. He has been instrumental in influencing minds against India’s friendly nations, against whom IS is at war,” Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Hemanth Nimbalkar told Deccan Herald on Sunday.

The investigating team suspects that Mehdi could have connections with terror groups.

The police are ascertaining if IS sleeper cells exist in the country, and probing Mehdi’s contacts — both in the virtual and real world.

The police, who have seized two laptops and as many mobile phones from Mehdi, are retrieving data from computers.

“We need to analyse the content to ascertain if he had links with any terror group and operated at their behest,” said a senior CCB officer.

The data in his mobile phones, analysed by the police, did not reveal anything significant.

There were just a couple of calls that had originated abroad. He received those calls from Britain’s Channel 4, which was the first to report that Mehdi operated from Bengaluru. There was no jihadi material or any content supporting the IS.

Mehdi rarely used his mobile phones, only contacting his parents in West Bengal with them. Even for the messages that he received, his reply used to be casual. He rarely sent messages on his own, and was selective in replying to those he received.

While there are reports that Mehdi used to frequently visit Mysuru, the police are yet to question him on this. “We have no idea about his visits to Mysuru.
However, we will look into it,” said Nimbalkar.

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