The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Saturday arrested 15 people after conducting multiple raids in Maharashtra and Karnataka in connection with terrorist organisation ISIS’s alleged conspiracy to carry out attacks across the country.
In a statement, the federal agency claimed that the 15 arrested operatives belonged to the “ISIS Maharashtra module”.
“Investigations have revealed that the accused, all members of ISIS Maharashtra module, were operating from Padgha-Borivali, where they had hatched the conspiracy to spread terror and carry out acts of violence across India,” the statement said.
“Pursuing the path of violent jihad, the accused had aimed to disturb the peace and communal harmony of the country and to wage a war against the Government of India,” the statement added.
The arrests came after NIA sleuths swooped down on 44 locations in Padgha-Borivali, Thane, Mira Road and Pune in Maharashtra and Bangalore in Karnataka early on Saturday.
“The accused, operating on the directions of their foreign handlers, had been actively involved in various terrorist activities, including fabrication of IEDs (improvised explosive devices), for furthering the violent and destructive agenda of the ISIS, as per NIA investigations,” the statement said.
The agency claimed to have seized huge amounts of unaccounted cash, firearms, sharp-edged weapons, smartphones and other digital devices during the raids.
Initial investigations, the agency said, have revealed the arrested accused had self-declared the village of Padgha in rural Thane as a “liberated zone”.
“They were motivating impressionable Muslim youths to relocate to Padgha from their place of residence for strengthening the Padgha base,” the NIA said.
“Saqib Nachan, the main accused and the leader and head of the ISIS module, was also administering the ‘bayath’ (oath of allegiance to the Khalifa of ISIS) to the persons joining the proscribed organisation.”
The agency has in recent months conducted large-scale raids and busted different ISIS modules by arresting several terror operatives in the terror conspiracy case.