With the arrest of Junaid Mohammed, the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) may have cracked what is billed as a ‘Social Media Module’ of the extremist outfit, Lashkar-e-Taiba, official sources said here on Wednesday.
Junaid, 29, picked up on Tuesday from Dabhodi, Pune on suspicion of recruiting radicalised youngsters for taking part in the violent activities of the LeT.
Among other things, he was acting as a recruiter for LeT and even getting paid for his services.
The ATS investigations reveal that he was recruiting radicalised youth not only from Maharashtra, but also Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.
He was reportedly active and connected to the LeT’s terror networks in Jammu & Kashmir and even abroad, through certain social media groups.
Recruitment was done via extensive use of social media, developing contacts through fake Facebook profiles, using at least 10 mobile phone SIM cards and other things.
The SIM cards were used temporarily and then discarded to avoid detection, and he used fresh SIMs for different people.
Junaid studied the profiles of radicalised youngsters, zeroed in on certain key words in their descriptions, would personally converse with them through a messenger and then took them into the LeT family.
Many of the youths were sent for terror training to different locations, some have already been arrested and at least one was killed in an encounter.
Junaid was allegedly following instructions of his handlers from J&K. Three of the handlers have been identified but named as ‘absconders’ in the ATS complaint.
Hailing from Buldhana district’s Khamgaon town, Junaid was nabbed from Dapodi in Pune after his name cropped up in a terror funding case probed by the ATS.
The ATS probe revealed that he had changed his mobile phone number several times to remain undetected in various social media groups and networks, and participated in terror-related discussions there.
Junaid was living with some relatives in Pune and had allegedly received an amount of Rs 10,000 for his shady recruitment activities from some terror operatives.
(The story has been published via a syndicated feed with a modified headline)