Mother of IS suspect alerted police about her son

Basith had travelled to Delhi and other places and was planning to revive his group for activities in India

Mohammed Abdullah Basith (24), one of the two suspects held by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in Hyderabad last week for allegedly “conspiring to further the activities of the Islamic State (IS) in India”, was missing for 10 days before his arrest.

It was Basith’s mother who informed the Telangana police that her son had gone incommunicado.

Basith has been on the radar of the intelligence agencies since 2014 as he had twice attempted to travel to Syria to join the IS. On both occasions, he was caught, counselled and let off.

“When he went missing this time, his mother immediately went to the police and informed them. He, however, came back on his own, but was arrested by the NIA a few days later,” said a family member of Basith who did not wish to be identified.

Visited Delhi

A senior NIA official confirmed that Basith was away from home for a few days. The official said that during the period he went missing, he had travelled to Delhi and other places and had been planning to revive his group for activities in India but had no plans to leave the country. Basith was looking after the family business and had got married in May.

“He has been under constant watch since 2014. When he returned to his Hyderabad house, we called him for questioning and arrested him subsequently. The interrogation is still on, and we cannot reveal the exact conspiracy right now,” the official said.

In May 2017, a news channel, Republic TV, aired a sting operation featuring Basith in which he pledged allegiance to the IS. The Telangana police registered a case, but closed the investigations as the channel failed to provide them with the unedited footage.

Basith first came on the radar of the agencies when he was caught by the Telangana police on August 29, 2014 along with his associates in Malda in West Bengal. Basith planned to go to Dhaka and from there to Afghanistan to participate in a war to help Islam. He was brought back and counselled by the police.

He was caught again at the Nagpur airport in December 2015 when he was about to board a flight to Srinagar with two of his cousins. Basith planned to cross over to Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) and travel to Syria to fight alongside the IS.

On January 28, 2016, the NIA registered a case against Sheikh Azhar ul Islam, Mohammed Farhan Shaikh and Adnan Hassan on the charge that the trio and their other unknown associates were members of the IS and were involved in a conspiracy to identify, motivate, radicalise, recruit and train Indian Muslim youth on behalf of the proscribed outfit to carry out terror activities.

The three accused were arrested after they were deported from the UAE on India’s request. It was revealed during investigation that Basith was in touch with one of the accused, Adnan Hassan, who reportedly arranged the money for him to travel to Afghanistan via Bangladesh in 2014.

A chargesheet filed by the NIA in the case said Abu Zakariya, a Syria operative of the IS, was guiding and helping Basith.

“He [Zakariya] used to have group discussions and propagate ideology of the IS and had created Jihadi matrimony to arrange marriage of the IS operatives and guide them to travel to Syria,” a chargesheet filed by the NIA in 2016 said.

On August 12, the NIA arrested Basith and Mohammed Abdul Qhadeer (19), after questioning for almost a week. The accused are in NIA custody till August 24.

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