Bengaluru: The Central Crime Branch (CCB) of Bengaluru police has filed a charge sheet against Mehdi Masroor Biswas, 24, the suspected handler of pro-Islamic State Twitter account, @ShamiWitness.
The CCB’s investigation team filed the charge sheet before a special court here on Monday, more than five-and-a-half months after Biswas’s arrest. Police had arrested Biswas, who was then working as a manufacturing executive with ITC Foods, from his one-room rented flat near Jalahalli in Gangammanagudi police limits on December 13, 2014, after Britain’s Channel 4 broadcast an interview with him.
In the interview, Biswas is heard admitting to handling @ShamiWitness, an IS propagandist Twitter account, for the last few years. Biswas’s Twitter account had more than 17,000 followers at the time of his arrest.
“The charge sheet runs into 36,986 pages, including exhibits, and contains details of about 1.22 lakh tweets and 18,000 followers. We have charged him under various sections of appropriate Acts and are confident of proving the charges in the court of law,” Joint Commissioner of (Crime) M Chandrashekhar said.
The CCB claimed that Biswas was a “representative” of Islamic State (IS) chief, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and planned to “establish” the caliphate. He made a “mockery” of those opposed to Baghdadi and the IS. He described the militants killed in Jammu and Kashmir as “martyrs” and urged Indians to support the IS. In the interview to Channel 4, he even expressed a desire to join the IS. Tests have “proved” that the voice in the interview was Biswas’s. The CCB also collected evidence about his contacts with “terrorists who know the English language”.
Biswas created “fake” e-mail IDs between January 25, 2013, and December 11, 2014, used the available content on the Internet and generated 1,22,203 tweets, besides uploading 15, 446 pictures. He used the Twitter account as a platform to “expand the base of his operations and instil fear among non-Muslims”. He “shared” the details of bordering areas of the IS to help those willing to join the organisation.
Mehdi has been charged under IPC sections 505 (statements conducing to public mischief), 121 (waging or attempting to wage war, or abetting waging of war, against the government of India), 124 (a) (sedition) and 153 (a) (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc, and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), section 66 (f) (cyber terrorism) of IT Act, 2000, and sections 13(1)(b) (advocating, abetting, advising or inciting any unlawful activity), 18 (b) recruiting of any person or persons for terrorist activity and 39 (support given to a terrorist organisation) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 2008.