BENGALURU: Police tracked down Mehdi Masroor Biswas, the Islamic State sympathiser unmasked on Friday by a British TV channel, and arrested him from his house in Jalahalli on Saturday.
Biswas used to run the Twitter account @ShamiWitness, and allegedly interact with and incite English-speaking jihadis from across the world. He had more than 17,700 followers.
City Police Commissioner
M N Reddi told reporters that the 24-year-old hailed from West Bengal and had been working as a manufacturing executive with ITC Foods in Bengaluru since 2012.
“After a police team picked up Mehdi Masroor Biswas and interrogated him, he confessed he had been operating the ShamiWitness Twitter account for many years. He has been interested in the developments of the Levantine region consisting of Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Gaza, Egypt and Libya from 2003,” Reddi said. He was produced before a court and taken into police custody.
Biswas is an engineering graduate. His parents and two elder sisters live in West Bengal. His father is a retired employee of the West Bengal State Electricity Board. In Bengaluru, Biswas used to work during the day and trawl the Internet late into the night. “He took a 60GB monthly Internet connection and used to read all breaking news related to ISIS and ISIL. He had a following of more than 17,000 Twitter users and used to tweet by aggregating information,” Reddi said.
Biswas was allegedly close to English-speaking terrorists of the ISIS. He became a source of incitement and information for new recruits, according to Reddi. Biswas hid his identity, confident that it would never be revealed. However, he was unmasked by Channel 4, a UK news channel.
An FIR has been registered at Gangammanagudi police station under Section 125 of the IPC (inciting violence against nations sharing friendly relations with India), Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the IT Act of 2000.
Investigations are being carried out by the Central Crime Branch led by a Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime).
Biswas had been active on Twitter since 2009, but there is no evidence he was a terror recruiter. He used to translate Arabic material into English and post it online, Reddi told reporters. Senior police officers were present at the meet.