The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has filed a charge-sheet against seven ISIS members accused of being involved in a conspiracy to carry out terror attacks in different parts of the country, an official said on Sunday.
They were charge-sheeted before the NIA Special Court in Mumbai under various sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, the Explosive Substances Act, the Arms Act and the Indian Penal Code (IPC) in the Pune-based ISIS module case, the spokesperson of the federal agency said.
The official identified the charge-sheeted accused as "Mohammad Imran-Mohammad Yusuf Khan alias 'Matka' alias 'Aamir Abdul Hameed Khan' and Mohammad Yunus-Mohammad Yakub Saki alias 'Adil' alias 'Adil Saleem Khan'" of Ratlam in Madhya Pradesh; "Kadeer Dastagir Pathan alias 'Abdul Kadeer' and Seemab Nasiruddin Kazi" of Kondwa in Maharashtra's Pune; and "Zulfikar Ali Barodawala alias 'Lalabhai' alias 'Saif', Shamil Saquib Nachan and Aakif Ateeque Nachan" of Padgha in Maharashtra's Thane.
The accused were involved in collecting and raising funds for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) with the intention to further its activities related to terror and violence, the spokesperson said.
The official said it was found that the accused organised terrorist training camps, harboured known and wanted terrorists, and committed acts preparatory to the fabrication of improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
"In addition, they were also found in possession of IEDs, firearms, and ammunition," the spokesperson said, adding that they had hatched a conspiracy to further the terrorist activities of the ISIS, with the intention to strike terror amongst the people and threaten the security, integrity and sovereignty of India.
"Investigations uncovered a larger conspiracy with international connections and the involvement of foreign-based ISIS handlers in the ongoing case. The investigation has unveiled a complex network of individuals committed to propagating the extremist ideology of the ISIS within India," the official said.
The official said the accused, as part of this network, also took an oath of allegiance to the self-styled Khalifa (leader) of the ISIS.
"Their intentions were to carry out acts of terrorism on Indian soil. The accused conducted extensive reconnaissance missions across multiple states, including Maharashtra, Karnataka, Goa, Telangana and others. Their aim was to identify potential targets for planting and detonating the fabricated IEDs, posing a significant threat to national security," the spokesperson said.
The official said they had meticulous plans for evading arrest following the potential blasts and added that "as part of their escape plan, these individuals identified remote and deep forests as possible hideouts and used drones for reconnaissance to locate suitable camping locations while on the run".
"The accused were also found to be collecting funds from various sources, both within India and abroad, to finance their terror designs and plans," the spokesperson said.
The case was initially registered on July 19, encompassing various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Arms Act and the Maharashtra Police Act, 1951. Subsequently, on August 30, the NIA took over the case for a thorough probe.
An eighth accused in the case Mohammad Shahnawaz Alam was arrested on November 2 for his alleged active involvement in promoting terrorist activities of the designated foreign terrorist organisation.