2014: ISIS link, blasts dominate headlines in Maha crime scene

Mumbai, Dec 22: Four Kalyan youths joining the ISIS in Iraq, a low-intensity blast in Pune, enhanced underworld threat to Bollywood personalities and the crisis hit NSEL promoter's arrest in an alleged Rs 5600-crore scam were some crime cases that hogged headlines in Maharashtra during 2014.

Terror menace resurfaced in the state on July 10 with a low-intensity blast, triggered by an IED planted in a bike parked in front of Faraskhana police station in the heart of Pune city that left four persons injured, one of them a constable.

2014: ISIS link, blasts dominate headlines in Maha crime scene

Hours after the blast, Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad declared the blast prima facie, a terror attack. While the state's elite Anti-Terror Squad was connecting the dots to hunt down the perpetrators, in the month of August a shocking terror activity from Kalyan here came to light.

In a jolt to the security agencies, it was found that four civil engineering students from Kalyan town -- Areeb Majeed, Shaheen Tanki, Fahad Shaikh and Aman Tandel -- had in May left India on pretext of a visiting holy places in the Middle East only to disappear thereafter.

They joined the terror group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). On August 26, Shaheen Tanki called up Areeb's family and told them that their son had become a "martyr" claiming that the latter died fighting for ISIS in Syria. Accordingly the next day, Areeb's family performed prayers in absence of the body in Kalyan.

In an intriguing twist to the episode, Areeb (22) returned to Mumbai on November 28 following which he was placed under arrest. National Investigation Agency (NIA) booked him under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) on charges of conspiring to commit a terrorist act and being a member of a banned foreign terror group, and under the stringent section 125 of the IPC for "waging war against any Asiatic Power in alliance with the government of India".

Areeb then elaborated his meticulously-planned trip from Kalyan to Iraq, the arms and explosives handling training he underwent in the insurgency hit region, how he had been instructed to carry out menial tasks like cleaning toilets or providing water to those on the battlefield, instead of being pushed into the war zone. 


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