NIA Arrests Mohammed Azarudeen, Mastermind of 'ISIS Tamil Nadu Module'
File image of NIA officers | (Photo Credits: PTI)

New Delhi, June 12: Days after busting the module of alleged Islamic State (ISIS) operatives in Tamil Nadu's Coimbatore, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested Mohammed Azarudeen, the suspected mastermind of the group. The accused is said to be the "Facebook friend" of Sri Lankan suicide bomber Zahran Hashim.

Officials of NIA searched seven premises in Coimbatore on Wednesday, before cracking down on Azarudeen. During the searches, the agency seized 14 mobile phones, 29 SIM cards, 10 pen drives, three laptops, six memory cards, four hard disc drives, an internet dongle and 13 CDs/DVDs, besides one dagger, an electric baton, 300 air-gun pellets and a large number of incriminating documents. Easter Bombings Probe: NIA Shares Numbers of 5 Sri Lankan ISIS Suspects With Counterparts in Colombo

A few pamphlets of Popular Front of India and Social Democratic Party of India, both under the scanner of security agencies, have also been seized from the houses and work places of the accused, it said.

Based on the recoveries, the agency has started questioning the accused about the material, it added.

A case was registered on May 30 this year against the module allegedly led by the 32-year-old Azarudeen of Coimbatore and five other residents of the city.

The agency had received the information that the accused persons and their associates were allegedly propagating the ideology of proscribed terrorist organisation ISIS on social media with the intention of recruiting vulnerable youth into the group for carrying out terrorist attacks in south India, especially in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the NIA said.

It alleged that Azarudeen was the leader of the module and maintained a Facebook page named "KhilafahGFX" through which he had been propagating the ideology of the banned West Asian terror group.

The NIA has alleged that Azarudeen has been a Facebook friend of Sri Lankan suicide bomber Zahran Hashim.

The IS had claimed responsibility for the serial bombings in Sri Lanka on April 21 in which around nine suicide bombers were involved. Total 258 people were killed and 500 others injured in the terror attacks in the island nation.

(With PTI inputs)