New Delhi, Dec 15: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday said Mehdi Masroor Biswas has denied recruiting any person for the militant group. Mehdi Biswas was arrested last week for allegedly running a pro-IS (Islamic State) Twitter account.
The home minister said that Mehadi has indicated that his activities were limited to posting and reposting of pro ISIS material on his Twitter account and social media sites.
Making a statement in Parliament, Rajnath Singh said: “The accused had come to prominence in the electronic media in the UK regarding his role in circulating IS material through a Twitter account. The central agencies worked in close collaboration with the Karnataka Police to develop information leading to his arrest.”
Rajnath further said: “Mehdi had a Twitter account under the username @ShamiWitness. He used to visit prominent IS related sites, mostly in Arabic language and then translate the contents in to English and repost the material on his twitter account.”
“During interrogation Mehdi disclosed that more than 60 percent of his twitter account followers were non-Muslims from western countries and a majority of his Muslim followers were from the western countries, particularly the U.K. Mehdi started closely following the developments in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan through internet during his college days and has been active in the social networking sites since 2009. Over a period of time Mehdi started interacting with people in the social networking sites on matters related to Jihad,” the Home Minister added.
An investigation by Britain’s Channel 4 News had stated that the @ShamiWitness account, which reportedly had a massive 17,700 followers, was being run by an executive based in Bangalore.
The report also claimed that the executive was ready to join the Islamic State himself if his family had not been dependant on him.
Mehdi belongs to a middle class family from Kolkata and has done his electrical engineering from Guru Nanak Dev Institute of Technology in 2012. He joined ITC following a campus recruitment drive.
Mehdi confesses to operating pro-IS Twitter account
Karnataka Director General of Police (DGP) L. Pachau on Saturday had stated that the 24-year -old youth hailing from West Bengal has confessed to operating a pro- Islamic State (IS) Twitter account.
“During the day he worked in office and he became active on internet late at night,” Pachau said, adding that Biswas had developed interest in the Levant region consisting of countries Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Gaza strip, Egypt and Libya.
A manufacturing executive with ITC Foods in Bangalore, Mehdi is from Kaikhali in North 24-Parganas, about 20km from Calcutta, where his parents live.
His 72-year-old father Mekal Biswas, a former supervisor with the erstwhile West Bengal State Electricity Board, said Mehdi had told him over the phone last night that he may have been framed by a hacker.
Mehdi has been charged under the Indian Penal Code’s Section 125 (waging war against any Asiatic power in alliance with India), Sections 18 and 39 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (inciting or abetting terrorist acts, and support given to terrorists) and Section 66 of the IT Act (computer-related offences).
(With Agency Inputs)