Bengaluru: Investigators are looking into “every possible” connection of alleged handler of pro-Islamic State (IS) Twitter account Mehdi Masroor Biswas with the ISIS' “virtual and actual world”, a top police official said today.
Preliminary investigation showed Biswas was a propagandist of ISIS ideology and “has been instrumental in influencing minds against our friendly nations against whom ISIS is at war,” the official said.
“His virtual or actual relations are under intense scrutiny. Investigation team is looking into every possible way of his connect with ISIS' virtual & actual world,” Joint Commissioner of Police Hemanth Nimbalkar, who is heading the special probe team, told PTI.
He said the investigation team is also looking into presence of any of the domestic connect or sleeper cell existing or not. “The follower network is being studied,” he said.
Biswas, who was arrested here yesterday, has meanwhile been remanded in police custody for five days.
“Bengaluru CCB police got five days' police remand of Mehdi Masroor Biswas. He was presented before the Magistrate last night,” DCP Crime Abhishek Goyal said.
Police had yesterday said that 24-year-old Biswas has “confessed” that he was handling the pro-jihad tweeter “@ShamiWitness” that became a source of incitement and information for new ISIS recruits.
He has been arrested under Sec 125 of IPC (waging war against the Government of any Asiatic power in alliance or at peace with the Government of India or attempts to wage such war or abetting the waging of such war), Sections 18 and 39 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and Section 66 of the Information Technology Act, they had said.
Meanwhile, Goyal has received a threat message in reply to his tweet about the arrest of Biswas.
“@goyal_abhei we will not leave our brothers in your hand Revenge is coming wait for our reaction,” reads a replay from twitter handle @abouanfal6.
Responding to the threat, Goyal said he is not taking it much seriously.
“Personally I'm not taking the threat much seriously, taking it in stride and not much alarmed,” he said.
On the basis of “credible” intelligence inputs received regarding the presence of ISIS Twitter Ideologue @ShamiWitness in Bengaluru, the city police chief had formed a special team, which closed in on Biswas and arrested him from a rented one-room apartment yesterday.
The Bengaluru Police had launched a manhunt for Mehdi after Britain's Channel 4 News had aired the report regarding the country's IT capital's link with the Twitter account that is followed by foreign jihadis.
Biswas, an engineer working as “manufacturing executive” with ITC Foods for an annual package of Rs 5.3 lakh, was arrested from his rented one-room apartment.
Biswas, hailing from West Bengal, had admitted to operating “@ShamiWitness” twitter account for the last many years and had more than 17,000 followers on Twitter.
He used to “ferociously” tweet by aggregating information and closely watching developments of the region, according to Karnataka DGP L Pachau.
Biswas had also “confessed” that he became “a source of incitement and information” for new ISIS recruits, Pachau had said yesterday.