July 21, 2019

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NEW DELHI – The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has found no evidence and dropped terror charges against four men including an auto-driver arrested last year for allegedly trying to establish an “Islamic State caliphate” by resorting to large-scale terrorist attacks in and around Delhi.

Mohammad Irshad, Raees Ahmad, Zaid Malik and Mohamamd Azam walked free earlier this month after spending over six months in jail, report The Hindu.

A senior government official said the NIA found no evidence against them.

In a chargesheet filed against 10 others on July 21 in a special court at Patiala House in Delhi, the NIA said: “The group wanted to manufacture IEDs, to be detonated by remote controlled devices, of more than 100 metres range.” Two of the accused recorded videos that was to be broadcast after their suicide attacks, it said.

Irshad, a resident of Amroha in west Uttar Pradesh, is an autorickshaw driver. Ahmad, also a resident of Amroha, worked at a welding shop. At the time of their arrests, Malik was living at Jafrabad in east Delhi and Azam ran a medical store at Seelampur in east Delhi. The four were arrested in December 2018 with 10 others.

The NIA, in a press release issued on December 26 last year, said Irshad “was helping Mohammad Suhail (prime accused) in arranging a hideout for keeping the material for making IEDs and bombs.”

The agency accused Ahmad and his brother Saeed of “procuring huge quantity of explosive material/gunpowder (around 25 kg) for preparing IEDs and pipe bombs and were instrumental in fabricating a rocket launcher to carry out terrorist attacks.” About Azam, the agency said he “helped the mastermind in arranging weapons”.

Their counsel, M.S. Khan, told The Hindu, “The NIA said in court that sufficient evidence was not found against them but investigations will continue.” The accused against whom the chargesheet was filed are Mufti Mohd Suhail, 30, Anas Younus, 21, Zubair Malik, 22, Rashid Zafar Raq, 24, Md. Saqib, 26, Md. Absar Said, 24, Md. Gufran, 25, Md. Faiz, 25, and Naim Choudhary, 22.