LeT terror funding and recruitment case: Maharashtra ATS arrests one more suspect from Jammu and Kashmir

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The Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) has arrested one more suspect from Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) for his alleged involvement in funding and recruitment for terror outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), officials said Tuesday. ATS chief Vineet Agarwal confirmed the arrest and said this was the fourth arrest in this case.

The fourth suspect, identified as Yusuf, was arrested by the ATS on Monday from the Doda district in J&K. He will be produced before the court in Pune Tuesday.

On May 24, the Maharashtra state ATS had arrested Mohammed Junaid Mohammed Ata (28), who hails from the Khamgaon taluka of the state’s Buldhana district and had been working at the shop of a scrap dealer in Dapodi in Pune. The ATS had on June 2 arrested another wanted suspect in the same case, Aftab Hussain Shah, 28, a carpenter from J&K’s Kishtwar.

Then on June 10, the ATS took custody of Inamul Haque, 20, who was already lodged in the Deoband sub-jail in Saharanpur following his arrest by the UP ATS from Deoband for his alleged links with the LeT operatives in Pakistan. Haque originally hails from Giridih in Jharkhand. On Monday, a court in Pune had granted police custody to Haque till June 24.

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According to ATS, Haque was in contact with Junaid and his role is being further investigated. Meanwhile, the ATS is also probing financial transactions between Junaid and Yusuf.

Along with Junaid and Shah, the Maharashtra ATS had named Hamidullah Zargar from Kulgam and Omar, also from Jammu and Kashmir, as wanted persons in the case. An offence in the case has been registered with the ATS under Sections 121A(conspiracy towards waging or attempting to wage war against government of India) and 153A (promoting communal enmity) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and provisions of the Information Technology Act.

ATS officials said that Junaid was the link between Haque and Omar for the communication regarding recruitment for the LeT. The role of Junaid and Omar was also being investigated by the UP ATS in their case, a Maharashtra ATS officer said.

The ATS has earlier told the court that they were probing at least 15 Facebook accounts and seven WhatsApp accounts which Junaid was using through different mobile phone numbers. Officials have claimed that these accounts have been used by him to communicate with the youth and tap them as potential recruits for the LeT by instigating communal sentiments.

After receiving intelligence inputs in December last year, the Maharashtra ATS investigated a phone-messenger group called “Ansar Gazawat-ul Hind/Tawheed”, allegedly formed by Zargar, in which several “anti-national terror activities were discussed and planned since 2021 while its members were brainwashed” said the ATS. Junaid, who was part of the group, was also in direct contact with the other suspects in the case.

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