New Delhi: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Sunday carried out searches at three places in Kerala in connection with a local module related to the Islamic State terror group.
The Islamic State had claimed responsibility for the April 21 blasts in Sri Lanka in which 253 people died and more than 500 were injured.
Officials carried out raids at the houses of three suspects – two of them in Kasargod and one in Palakkad – and are currently questioning them. They said the raids were carried out after the agency got a tip that the three persons are suspected to have links with some of the accused who had earlier exited India to join the Islamic State.
Sources in the NIA told media they have not found anything so far to link the Kasargod module of the Islamic State to the Sri Lanka explosions. "But questioning and further investigation will also be about any knowledge that this group may have about the Sri Lanka module of the Islamic State," the sources added. "Prima facie, the link is with the Islamic State's Afghanistan module."
The three are suspected to have links with some of the accused in the case going back to 2016, in which a criminal conspiracy was hatched and 14 accused persons from Kasaragod left India or their workplaces in the Middle East. They then travelled to Afghanistan and Syria where they allegedly joined the Islamic State. In Thiruvananthapuram, a Kerala police official said that the NIA had taken one person from Palakkad district, which borders Tamil Nadu, into custody for further questioning. A police official attached to the Kollengode police station said that the NIA approached them and sought security. "We accompanied them and they have taken one person into custody. After picking him up, they returned to Kochi," said the official. NIA officials in Kasaragod also served notice to two people, identified only as Abubacker and Ahamed, to report on Monday at the Kochi NIA office. In New Delhi, the NIA said it had seized a number of digital devices including mobile phones, SIM cards, memory cards, pen drives, diaries with handwritten notes in Arabic and Malayalam, DVDs of Zakir Naik besides untitled DVDs. He said the agency also seized compact discs of religious speeches.
The NIA said the case relates to the criminal conspiracy hatched by people from Kasaragod district of Kerala and their associates to join the Islamic State.
According to the NIA, as part of the conspiracy, 14 accused from Kasaragod left India or their work places in the Middle East between May and July 2016 before travelling to Afghanistan or Syria where they joined the Islamic State.