New Delhi: A special NIA court on Friday awarded varied jail terms to 15 individuals for their involvement in conspiracy to establish a base of terror organisation ISIS in India by recruiting Muslim youth through social media platforms to carry out terrorist activities in the country.

Parveen Singh, Special Judge for NIA at Patiala House Court, awarded them varying punishments. The special court sentenced one Nafees Khan to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment, while the three convicts were sent to jail for seven years, two for six years and nine for five years.

The NIA had filed the FIR in this case in December 2015. During subsequent investigation which was led by Anurag Kumar, a 2004 batch IPS officer of Assam-Meghalaya (AM) cadre, it was found that the accused persons had formed an organization ‘Junood-ul-Khilafa-Fil-Hind’ (a group seeking to establish Caliphate in India and pledging allegiance to ISIS/ISIL) to recruit Muslim youth to work for ISIS and commit acts of terrorism in India at the behest of one Yusuf-Al-Hindi @ Shafi Armar @ Anjan Bhai, who was based in Syria, and was purportedly the media chief of ISIS.

Hierarchy chain of ISIS in India.

The arrest of these accused, as per NIA officials, had a massive impact on those who wanted to join ISIS. The questioning of these accused led to the NIA being able to timely intercept Indian individuals at various locations in the Middle East before they could reach Syria and Iraq and have them deported.

All the accused are in the age group of 21-58 and include a ‘maulvi’ from Delhi. The rest of the accused belong to Mumbai, Madhya Pradesh and South-Indian states. Two individuals, residents of Bengaluru and Hooghly, were not charge-sheeted as they were pardoned by the NIA court.

The conspiracy was revealed after the NIA started developing intelligence regarding the spread of ISIS in India and made its first arrest, which was that of Naser Mohammad, Thanjavur in December 2015. Developing further intel, the NIA carried out searches at 14 locations in various parts of the country.

This was the first case of its kind in the country where online radicalization was done in the aftermath of declaration of Islamic Caliphate by Abu-Baqar-Al-Bagdadi in 2014 to carry out a terror strike in the country.

The 87-page chargesheet, that was filed by the NIA, consists of minute details on how the accused got in touch with their main recruiter Shafi Armar, who was reportedly killed later. It also contains irrefutable proof that shows the extent of radicalization these individuals had been exposed to. The 15 accused who have been convicted are Nafees Khan, Mudabbir Mushtaq Sheikh, Abu Anas, Mufti Abdus Sami, Azhar Khan, Amzad Khan, Mohd. Sharif Moinudeen, Asif Ali, Mohd. Hussain, Syed Mujahid, Najmul Huda, Mohd. Obedullah, Md. Aleem, Md. Afzal and Sohail Ahmad