An India-based Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist, Syed Ali, also known as Vinjani, who is a scientist, was charged by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and presented before an NIA Special Court in Poonamallee, Chennai earlier this month. Syed Ali, whose family hails from Parassala in Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram, is alleged to have participated in a terror cell formed to establish provinces of the Islamic State in the dense forests of Southern India.

The ‘Q’ Branch CID of Chennai City police station first flagged this case in December 2019, following the detention of Islamic State terrorists Khawaja Moideen and Liyakath Ali from Chennai and Salem. They had been assembling and testing improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and carrying out underground communications with handlers outside India through the dark web. They had made meticulous and detailed plans for waging a full-blown jihad inside India.

The jihad terrorists worked toward establishing a wilayah (province) for the Islamic jihad group in the forests of Southern India. The NIA further reveals that they had been hunting for similar hideouts in the woods of Siliguri and Burdwan in West Bengal, Ratnagiri in Maharashtra, and Kolar and Kodagu in Karnataka. Their ultimate motive behind setting up these jihad terror bases across the forests of India was to launch systematic fatal attacks on key government officials, Hindu leaders, political figures, prominent police officers, and judges who were presiding over terrorist cases.

These ISIS terrorists had already hoarded arms and ammunition, bows and arrows, tents, boots, ropes, ladders, sleeping bags and other amenities required for sustaining life in the jungle by the time the NIA foiled their dreadful plans and apprehended the 17-member jihadi squad, which was helmed by Moideen from Cuddalore and one Mehboob Pasha from Bengaluru. The NIA charge sheet affirms that they had also acquired enormous stocks of firecrackers, so as to extract explosive material from them that could be used to prepare IEDs and train young recruits in the jungle.

As a dextrous techie, Syed Ali gave extensive assistance to Moideen and the others involved in the jihad plot to establish these secret conversations via the dark web. In its supplementary charge sheet, the NIA states that the extremely tech-savvy Ali had aided others in using the dark web and sending encrypted messages outside India, and had vigorously participated in the conspiracy meetings. Apart from providing technical support, Syed had also arranged for safe harbors for his jihad terrorist mates, and helped them procure the necessary items and explosive materials to experiment with IEDs. They used forged identification papers in the names of civilians without their knowledge or consent, and fraudulently activated the SIM cards of private service providers. These SIM cards were used to “organise conspiracy meetings, recruit persons, collect prohibited arms and ammunition, procure jungle camping equipment, raise funds and harbour associates,” revealed the NIA spokesperson.

The “scientist” Syed Ali, alias Zubair, alias Anees, alias Abubacker, alias Vinjani, has been charged with the fraudulent use of documents or electronic records, criminal conspiracy, and destroying evidence. He is also being held under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for his membership in terror organizations and providing support to the same. Further, he will be tried under various sections relating to possession of and/or making/assembling of explosives with intent to threaten lives. Measures under the Explosive Substances Act are also applicable to Syed for possessing explosives under suspicious circumstances.


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