The NIA's investigations into the suspected Amroha-Delhi module of the Islamic State have now found a Kashmir link to the alleged conspiracy. Interrogation of Saqib Iftekhar - a Hapur-based muezzin under arrest for allegedly helping the group acquire weapons - is learnt to have revealed that he had travelled to Jammu and Kashmir twice in search of weapons and to meet militants.
NIA sources claimed that Iftekhar travelled to Kashmir first in May last year. "He visited Bandipora in North Kashmir and then went Rajouri in Jammu," an NIA officer said.
His second visit to the Valley was in August when he visited Tral, the officer said. "He had gone to Tral to meet a Maulvi. He and the Maulvi are known to each other as they studied theology in an Amroha seminary together. He asked the Maulvi to arrange for weapons and to help him meet Mujahideen. The Maulvi expressed the inability to arrange for weapons but promised to help him meet Mujahideen," the officer said.
An NIA team is now in Kashmir to identify and question the Maulvi and to ascertain if the group ever came in contact with Kashmiri militants.
NIA has so far arrested 11 people in connection with the case, with Mufti Suhail - an Islamic Preacher from Jaffarabad in Delhi - being accused of being the leader of the group.
The core group allegedly had four members - Suhail; Mohammed Anas, a civil engineering student from Amity University ; Zubair and Zaid, all of them residents of Jaffarabad in Delhi. On instructions from their handler they had decided to form the group to carry out IS activities, NIA sources said.
To maintain secrecy, they would create a Telegram group every morning to chat and delete it the same evening, NIA sources said.
On December 26, NIA arrested 10 people from Delhi's Jaffarabad and UP's Amroha for allegedly being part of a group called Harkat-ul-Harb-e-Islam. The agency alleged that the group owed allegiance to the Islamic State and was being handled by an online entity by the name of Abu Malik Peshawari.
During its raids, the NIA had claimed to have seized a huge cache of arms and explosives.
Officially, the NIA has maintained that the group had plans to target "vital installations and important personalities which included politicians".