The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has arrested another accused, Tauheed Ahmad, in its ongoing probe into the conspiracy by terror groups to carry out IED blasts in Uttar Pradesh.
The NIA took up the probe from UP Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) in July last year.
So far, NIA has filed a charge sheet against five arrested accused — Minhaz Ahmad, Museeruddin, Shakeel, Moid and Mustaqeem. They were said to be in touch with terror outfit Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind (AGuH), an auxiliary of al-Qaida.
The ATS had claimed that the accused were planning to trigger blasts around Independence Day celebrations in 2021.
Investigators had recovered an IED in the form of a pressure cooker bomb from the Lucknow residence of an accused.
NIA said that accused Tauheed Ahmad Shah was arrested from Manchowa, in Budgam district of Jammu and Kashmir.
“Investigation has revealed that the arrested accused Tauheed was the mastermind of the conspiracy for recruitment and to commit terrorist acts in the name of AGuH, including procurement of arms, ammunitions and explosive materials to be used for attacks in UP,” the NIA sources said.
Sources said that during the questioning with the arrested accused Minhaz Ahmad and Museeruddin, the name of Tauheed Ahmad had cropped up.
On the basis of electronic surveillance, it was established that the earlier arrested five accused were also in touch with Tauheed and were given explosives and arms to be used in attacks at different places in UP.
Minhaz Ahmad was radicalized online by two al-Qaida terrorists based in Jammu and Kashmir and he had entered into a conspiracy with them for recruiting members for AGuH and for committing terrorist acts. Minhazthen recruited Museeruddin into al-Qaida fold and involved him in the conspiracy for committing terrorist acts in UP, the NIA said.
Museeruddin and Minhaz Ahmad procured arms, ammunition, explosive material and conducted reconnaissance of vulnerable areas for carrying out blasts with an intention to wage war.