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'IS-sympathiser should be tried for cyber terrorism,' Maharashtra ATS tells court

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The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism squad submitted draft charges against alleged IS-sympathiser Anees Shakil Ahmed Ansari. The ATS has sought to try Ansari, an engineer arrested for allegedly conspiring to blow up a Mumbai school, on additional charges of cyber terrorism and criminal conspiracy.

'IS-sympathiser should be tried for cyber terrorism,' Maharashtra ATS tells court

In its draft charges, the ATS has submitted that Ansari should be booked under Sections 43 (a) (penalty and compensation for damage to computer and computer system), 66F (punishment for cyber terrorism) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 and under Section 115 (abetment of offence punishable with death or life imprisonment) read with section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.

Special public prosecutor Madhukar Dalvi submitted the draft charges that claim that between August 2011 and October 2014, Ansari created an account on social networking site, Facebook, on a fake identity and used it to interact with people. "Ansari had downloaded incriminating data by misusing the computer devices and internet connection of his office dishonestly and fraudulently without taking appropriate permission from the officer in charge of the office premises," the draft said.

The draft charges also claimed that in October 2014, Ansari promoted the ideology of the ISIS and attempted to influence people to join him. "He conspired to spread terror activities and induced others to join him in spreading the terror activities propagated by the ISIS with the intent of threatening the unity, integrity, security and sovereignty of India, or to strike terror in the people or any section of the people," the draft charges read.

Anees Ansari was arrested in 2014 for allegedly conspiring with another person, Omar Elhaj, to carry out lone wolf attacks on a Mumbai school. The prosecution is expected to argue in the draft charges on August 1 following which the court will frame charges against 26-year-old Anees Ansari.

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