A day after a 34-year-old man from Bhatkal town in Karnataka was detained at the Pune airport for alleged links with the Islamic State (IS), a senior government official said on Wednesday it could have been a case of mistaken identity.
Ismail Musab Raoof Ahmed, a shoe salesman, was on way to board an Air India flight to Dubai on Tuesday morning when he was detained at the airport. Officials suspected that he was to travel to Syria from Dubai. However, the official said the National Investigation Agency (NIA) was questioning him for the second consecutive day in Mumbai and if nothing suspicious is found, Ahmed would be let off.
The NIA made countrywide arrests in January this year and arrested 24 young men who allegedly wanted to establish an “IS-backed caliphate” in the country.
One of the main suspects, Mudabbir Sheikh, had allegedly received hawala money on two occasions to assemble Improvised Explosive Device (IED) and bombs to target places of importance, politicians and policemen. Investigators said during Sheikh’s interrogation, the name of one “Raoof” had surfaced.
“The person detained at the Pune airport also had Raoof in his name and since he is from Bhatkal, from where a number of men have joined the Indian Mujahideen, the intelligence agencies could have mistaken him for a terror suspect,” the official said.
When contacted, S.K. Singh, IG, NIA said: “We are still verifying his antecedents.”
The government official said Ahmed got an Indian passport only in 2015 and he had many relatives and friends in Dubai.