The three IS-sympathisers arrested by the Coimbatore City Police for alleged conspiracy to stage terror attacks in Coimbatore were radicalised much before the Easter Sunday blasts in Sri Lanka, said the police.
Preliminary investigations showed that the three, Mohammed Hussain, 25, from Ukkdam; A. Shajahan, 25, from Anbu Nagar; and Sheik Safiullah, 36, from Karumbukkadai, were actively propagating pro-IS ideologies on social media platforms for over a year.
The police found that they allegedly supported Zahran Hashim, National Thowheed Jamath leader who masterminded the Easter Sunday bombings in the island nation on April 21, and praised the attack which killed over 250 people.
L. Balaji Saravanan, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Coimbatore City Police, told The Hindu on Saturday that the three were arrested after being summoned and questioned for two days.
“They were actively propagating IS ideology through social media platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Telegram. They were interrogated in detail. The arrests were recorded based on prima facie evidence on their activities,” Mr. Saravanan said.
According to Mr. Saravanan, the intelligence wing of the police were closely watching the activities of Hussain, Shajahan and Safiullah for some time which led to their arrest. They were working in pharmaceutical sector.
Asked whether the three had links with the Coimbatore-based IS module, which was busted by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Tuesday, the officer said that conclusive evidence had not been found to connect the two groups. “We have alerted the Ministry of Home Affairs about the arrests and their nature,” Mr. Saravanan added.
Mobile phones, SIM cards, hard disks, documents of bank accounts, pen drives, memory cards and other incriminating material had been seized during raids conducted at the houses of Hussain, Shajahan and Safiullah on Thursday.
The suspects were arrested under Sections 18 (Punishment for conspiracy), 38 (Offence relating to membership of a terrorist organization) and 39 (Offence relating to support given to a terrorist organization) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The case is registered at Podanur police station in Coimbatore.
They were produced before Coimbatore District and Principal Sessions Judge R. Sakthivel on Saturday who remanded them in judicial custody for a fortnight.