The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday arrested an Islamic State sympathiser and follower, identified as Riyas Aboobacker, of alleged Sri Lanka bombings mastermind Zahran Hasim from Kerala, the agency said. Aboobacker admitted that he wanted to carry out a suicide attack in Kerala.
Aboobacker, alias Abu Dujana, was arrested after he disclosed the NIA that he has been following speeches and videos of Hashim, a radical Tamil-speaking cleric who is believed to have masterminded the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka which left 253 people dead and more than 500 injured.
News agency IANS reported that the 29-year-old told the NIA that he has been following Hasim for more than a year and has also followed the speeches of Zakir Naik, an absconding Indian Islamic preacher and the founder of the Islamic Research Foundation.
He was being questioned by the NIA since Sunday when the agency unearthed the Kasargod module of the terrorist outfit in Kerala during multiple raids at the house of three suspects.
Aboobacker, a resident of Palakkad in Kerala, has been arrested on charges for conspiring to commit a terrorist act, an NIA statement said.
The NIA said the alleged accused had disclosed that he had been in contact with absconding accused Abdul Rashid Abdulla alias Abu Isa for a long time and that he had been following Abdul’s audio clips, “including the clip which he had circulated on social media platform instigating others to carry out terror attacks in India”.
Riyas also revealed that he had been holding online chats with Abdul Khayoom alias Abu Khalid (the accused in the Valapattanam ISIS case) who was believed to be in Syria.
On Sunday, the NIA conducted searches at three places in Kerala as part of its investigation into the ISIS Kasaragod module case. The probe agency said in a statement that it carried out the searches at the houses of three suspects -- two in Kasaragod and one in Palakkad.
"These persons are suspected to have links with some of the accused persons in the said case who had exited India to join the proscribed terrorist organisation ISIS/Daish," the NIA said in a statement.
It said that mobile phones, SIM cards, memory cards, pen drives, diaries with handwritten notes in Arabic and Malayalam, DVDs and books of controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik, besides untitled DVDs, CDs with religious speeches, books of Syed Kutheb were seized during the searches.
"Digital devices will be forensically examined and analysed," the agency said, adding the three suspects are being questioned.
(With PTI inputs)