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Updated February 1st, 2024 at 00:12 IST

Maharashtra ATS Establishes Money Trail in ISIS Terror Funding Case, 13 Bank Account Traced

The Nashik court extended Engineer Hussaif Abdul Shaikh (32) who was arrested in Nashik for alleged links with ISIS, by 6 days.

Reported by: Sandip Singh
Nashik Court
Nashik Court | Image:Representational
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Mumbai: Engineer Hussaif Abdul Shaikh (32) who was arrested in Nashik by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) for alleged links with ISIS was produced at Nashik Court. The court on Wednesday extended the custody of the accused by 6 days.

Special Public Prosecutor (PP) Advocate Ajay Misar said, "The accused’s custody was extended for next 6 days. During investigation it was revealed that the accused transferred around 65 thousand rupees to the people linked with the terror outfit ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria).”

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“He used ‘hawala’ networks and transferred the funds. The ATS had detected 26 bank accounts so far, involved in transactions of hawala money. 13 bank accounts so far have been examined, which indicated that the funds were sent to Syria through the UAE," the advocate said.

Rubiya Jahan Najeeb allegedly radicalised Shaikh to join ISIS

According to sources in law enforcement agencies, Shaikh was in a relationship with the widow of globally notorious terrorist Shafi Armar, also known as Yusuf-Al-Hindi, who was killed in a US drone attack in Raqqa, Syria, in 2015. He was known as the ‘ISIS Khorasan’ module chief and a close confidant of ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi.

During the investigation, the ATS found that Shaikh and Armar's widow, Rubiya Jahan Najeeb, a Pakistan national currently in Syria, were planning to marry after remaining in touch for around 5-years through social media Facebook.

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It is being said that Shaikh intended to move to Syria for the marriage, after Rubiya, who was handling the ISIS ‘honey trap and funding’ operations, succeeded in radicalising him during their friendship which started around 2018-2019.

As per a source, "Multiple money transfers were detected from the account of the accused to the account of an ISIS operative. These transfers took place between 2021 and 2023.”

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Efforts to identify people in the network are being carried out.

It is further being added that a money trail has been established during the investigation, which indicates that there are several suspects involved in the network.

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Sources also claimed that Shaikh was in regular touch with the ISIS sleeper cell. The investigating team has seized Shaikh’s electronic devices and mobile phones and are scrutinising the bank accounts to his social media accounts.

Who was Shafi Armar and his widow?

It is being claimed that significant intelligence input regarding Armar's family was gathered by the agency after his death, which indicated that Armar joined the ‘ISIS Khorasan’ module in Pakistan in the year 2012–2013. During his stay in Pakistan, he met Rubiya.

Armar was a member of the Indian Mujahideen (IM) and belonged to Karnataka’s coastal region Bhatkal.

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According to the reports, after the 2008 Batla House incident, Armar and his elder brother Sultan Armar fled to Pakistan. It came to fore that both Rubiya and Armar were actively using social media to brainwash and recruit young people from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and India to carry out terror operations in coordination with Pakistan's ISI.

Allegedly, in 2016, during the "Ardh Kumbh" in Haridwar, Armar and five of his associates plotted terror attacks.

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The NIA had filed a chargesheet against them.
 

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Published February 1st, 2024 at 00:12 IST

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