In a chilling development, the chargesheet filed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) against two suspected ISIS handlers - one of whom had been stung by Republic TV in May 2017 - has revealed that a big lone-wolf attack may have been on the cards but was averted due to their timely arrests in August 2018.
As per the supplementary chargesheet that has been filed by the NIA, Hyderabad-based Abdullah Basith who had been stung by Republic TV had planned to carry out an attack in tandem with a Pakistani handler named Huzaifa who lives in Afghanistan.
The attack had been planned for New Delhi and the targets, as per the NIA, were RSS leaders and security forces. Logistics and execution planning appeared to have been afoot, given that chemicals like Chloroform (CHCl3), Potassium Chlorate (KClO3 - an oxidizer) and Potassium Nitrate (KNO3 - a key component in explosives) were recovered from the houses of both Basith and Mohammad Abdul Qhadeer - the other arrested ISIS suspect.
The chargesheet, which makes multiple mentions of Republic TV's sting, also throws into sharp relief just how close the arrests came to the prospective date of the attack. On July 28, 2018, Basith travelled to New Delhi and met two Kashmiris who were allegedly set to deliver him weapons to carry out the attack on RSS leaders. Basith was to procure a vehicle for this purpose. However, both the J&K ISIS members - Jamshed Zahoor Paul and Parvez Rashid - were caught by the Delhi Special cell, while Basith was arrested in Hyderabad days later.
In Republic TV's May 2017 sting, Basith and two other operatives from the suspected ISIS module, had admitted to their recruitment endeavours. Basith had also made inarguably dangerous statements rejecting democracy and seeking the Islamic State. He had admitted to being in contact with separatist elements in Kashmir and stated a desire to go to Syria - then ISIS's stronghold - and in case this was not possible, perpetrate attacks on Indian soil.
At that time, Republic TV's sting and the resulting questioning of Basith was questioned by sections of the media and political circles, with recent developments bringing out the truth in this regard.