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Arrested Al Qaeda suspect in Bengal spread his network during lockdown

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The News Bureau

Suspected Al Qaeda activist, Nasimuddin Sheikh, arrested from Hooghly on April 25, took advantage of the Covid lockdown period to extend his network in the state.

Sources in the Special Task Force (STF) of the West Bengal police said that in the face of preliminary interrogation, the arrested accused admitted that during the lockdown period he established his hub at a particular Madrasa at Bankra area in Kolkata – adjacent Howrah district of West Bengal.

“While staying at this particular Madrasa he had established links with other associates of Al Qaeda, some of whom have already been arrested by our sleuths. His task was mainly getting new recruits for the outfit’s sleeper cells through systematic brainwashing. However, after the lockdown was lifted, he silently absconded from the Madrasa and went out of the state,” an STF sleuth said on condition of anonymity.

According to him, Sheikh has also admitted that besides hunting new recruits through systematic brainwashing, he was also assigned to set up modules in minority dominated pockets in North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas and Howrah districts.

Recently, he came back to the state and started residing at one of his relative’s place at Dadpur in Hooghly district. On getting the information from their sources on this count, the STF sleuths suddenly raided that residence a couple of days back and arrested him from there.

Sources said that in November last year, the STF sleuths arrested another Al Qaeda associate Maniruddin Khan from

Mathurapur in South 24 Parganas district. From him, a pen-drive was recovered from which the STF sleuths accessed crucial

information, including the name of Sheikh.