Kochi: A NIA court here on Monday found six people, arrested in connection with a 2016 Islamic State (ISIS) terror plot case, guilty of conspiring to carry out strikes across Kerala and neighbouring states.
Those convicted are Manseed Mehmood, Swalih Mohammed, Rashid Ali, Ramshad N K, Safvan and Moinuddin. Special judge P Krishnakumar, however, acquitted Jasim N K.
The court said they had not joined the ISIS but made it clear that they were qualified to be called as members of a terror gang. The quantum of punishment will be pronounced on Wednesday, it said.
They have been found guilty under various sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) including offences relating to membership of a terrorist organisation and support given to a terrorist organisation.
During the hearing on quantum of punishment, the prosecution argued that they should be awarded life imprisonment as they did not show any remorse or repentance for their act. The prosecution said it will also send across a message to society that such acts would be dealt with seriously.
Opposing the prosecution argument, the defence sought maximum leniency citing that no arms or ammunition were recovered from them.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) busted the alleged ISIS module from Kanakamala in Kannur district in October 2016 when the members were holding a meeting to chalk out plans to carry out terror attacks against prominent people, including judges, police officers and politicians, and foreign tourists.
The NIA said they were members of the ISIS and were arrested for hatching criminal conspiracy to wage war against the Government of India by collecting explosives and other materials to target prominent people and places of public importance in various parts of southern India. Manseed Mehmood, Swalih Mohammed, Rashid Ali, Safvan P and Jasim N K were arrested from Kanakamala on October 2, 2016.
According to the NIA, the same day, Ramshad N K, was arrested after communication on social media among members on the criminal conspiracy and their pursuant preparations were recovered from his digital device seized during search at his residence.
During custodial interrogation, it was disclosed that they had communicated with co-conspirators within and outside India over online social media platforms like Facebook and Telegram and had also collected funds to wage war against the Government of India, the agency said.
The NIA said investigations established that they had knowingly and intentionally conspired besides conducted consequent preparations to attack foreigners especially Jews visiting Kodaikkanal and to attack prominent political leaders, High Court judges, senior police officers, rationalists and Muslims belonging to the Ahmadiyya sect.