ISIS operative's handler could be Indian: Gujarat ATS

ISIS operative's handler could be Indian: Gujarat ATS

ISIS operative's handler could be Indian: Gujarat ATS

Waseem Ramodiya, arrested along with his brother in Gujarat for suspected ISIS links, was being guided by an unknown handler, possibly an Indian, as they used to communicate in Hindi through an online messaging service, the Gujarat ATS has revealed.

Waseem and his younger brother Naeem were arrested from Rajkot and Bhavnagar respectively during an early morning operation on Sunday. The FIR filed by the state Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) says the duo was to carry out lone-wolf attacks after which they had planned to escape to Syria.

"Analysis of the call details of the mobile phone being used by (ISIS' controversial preacher) Mufti Abdus Sami Qasmi before his arrest, showed connectivity with the mobile registered in the name of Waseem Ramodiya at the address of Nehru Nagar, Street 2, Raiya Road, Rajkot, Gujarat," the FIR read.

"In view of the same, technical and physical surveillances were kept on the bearer of the number. The surveillance had revealed that Waseem was initiated into ultra-radical Jihadi ideology as preached by the ISIS," it added.

Mufti Qasmi was arrested by the NIA in February, 2016 and was labelled as one of the main ISIS operatives in India.

"Technical surveillance on Waseem Ramodiya revealed that he was in regular contact with his brother Naeem and they discussed various developments pertaining to the ISIS. The tone and tenor of the telephonic talks between the brothers clearly indicate that they were highly influenced by the ISIS' call of establishing a caliphate and wished to be part of the so-called Jihad against non-believers," the FIR read.

The ATS has also quoted from transcripts of phone calls between the two brothers and their wives in the FIR. The FIR said, "The surveillance further revealed that Waseem was being guided by unknown handler(s)."

It listed 'Big Cat', an online profile ID, as one of Waseem's unknown handlers and also listed the messages between 'Big Cat' and Waseem, who was using a proxy profile ID, 'Ninja Fox', on end-to-end encrypted online messaging service Telegram.

The messages exchanged between them were in Hindi, which has led the ATS to conclude that the handler was a South Asian, probably an Indian. "The ISIS handler was communicating with Waseem in Hindi. However, it needs to be probed if he is an Indian and was based in India or abroad," ATS SP Himanshu Shukla told PTI.

The FIR contains transcripts of messages of the handler, who time and again "instigated" Waseem to carry out "big attacks" and kill 'kafirs' (non-believers), video-record the incidents and send the clips to him (the handler) for further dissemination.

Waseem had replied to his handler that he was committed to doing the work and sending the video clips, the FIR read. In one of the messages to the handler, Waseem was quoted as saying, "Kuch maal ke sahoolat ho jayegi to nikal jayenge Dar ul-kufr se Dar ul-khlfh mein (If I get some money, I will leave home for the caliphate)".

From the mobile phones recovered from the Ramodiya brothers, the ATS has found IEDs/bomb-making videos and jihadi literature. The bomb-making manual describes in detail how to make IEDs/bombs, using quartz alarm clocks and explosive materials extracted from firecrackers, decoration lamps, elbow pipes etc.

"Various constituents for preparing an IED, as described in the manual found from the mobile phone of the accused, were recovered during raids at their house, like a GF 22 V battery for transistor radios, explosive substances extracted from firecrackers and firecrackers," the FIR read.

Hard and soft copies of 'Dabiq', the propaganda magazine of the ISIS in English which aims to recruit jihadists, were also recovered from the possession of the accused. As many as 173 files of speeches of Mufti Abdus Sami Qasmi were also found saved in their mobile phones, it added.

"Facts revealed during the surveillance clearly showed that both the brothers were adept at using technology to undermine the efforts of law enforcement agencies in monitoring their activities," the FIR read.

Yesterday, the two brothers were produced in court which remanded them to a 12-day police custody. Investigations have revealed that the duo had planned to attack the famous temple at Chotila town of Surendranagar district in Gujarat.

They had also planned to carry out blasts at different places and set vehicles afire to spread terror. Waseem and Naeem hold MCA and BCA degrees respectively.

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