New Delhi, Jan 25: The National Investigating Agency probably carried out one of its biggest operations in recent times when it rounded up over a dozen persons alleged to be linked to the ISIS.
While various angles pertaining to the modus operandi of these persons have been spoken about, what is key in this investigation is that probably for the first time in an ISIS related case in India has a financial transaction come to the fore.
A financial transaction of Rs 6 lakh of which Rs 2.37 lakh has been recovered by the NIA from the account of Mudabbir Mushtaq Shaikh holds the key to the investigations.
It has always been a problem for investigators in the past while attempting to prove a link of a person to a terrorist organisation. Most of the cases were based on jihadi material found on some youth who are alleged to have either read it or forwarded it.
Cases normally do not stand before the court of law if it is solely based on the argument that these persons were viewing jihadi material and forwarding it. Investigators say that many cases in the past have failed when the argument is solely on such a basis.
Hence in this recent bust, the NIA feels confident of building up a strong case as there are financial transactions available which indicate that a proper recruiting mechanism was underway with the lure of money.
Ideology vs finances:
While the ideological terrorist is far more dangerous compared to the finance minded one, the latter is always a better bet when it comes to arguing before a court. This is especially true in the cases relating to the ISIS as there is a lot of activity that takes place online. Mere forwards or re-tweets do not always hold before a court.
Going by the bare law, it is very difficult to convict persons who are re-tweeters or just reading up propaganda material. The prosecution will have to prove beyond reasonable doubt to the court that the person indeed was involved in recruiting persons for the ISIS and for this a financial transaction is extremely important.
The questions that normally would come up for arguments in cases relating to online propaganda is if there was any financial transaction. If the investigators are able to find that the accused person had been paid money to carry out a recruitment, then prosecuting such a person becomes extremely easy.
Moreover in such cases, the information that such persons put out is in public domain and this is another factor that makes it very difficult for the prosecution to argue on when the trial is on.
Officers say that in such cases, they normally look for a financial transaction.
If this is not available they would look for propaganda material that are sent out either through direct messages or emails. If such information is found in a private space, then it becomes clear that the person is seriously recruiting for a terrorist organisation.