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Australia likely to share inputs to help track Islamic State network

The information surrounds the rare case of an Indian Islamic State recruit, Areeb Ejaj Majeed, that is being probed by the National Investigation Agency

New Delhi: After tipping off Indian intelligence agencies about the whereabouts of underworld don Chhota Rajan, leading to his arrest, Australia is now likely to share valuable information that could help authorities here track the way terror outfit Islamic State recruits young Indians.

The information surrounds the rare case of an Indian Islamic State recruit, Areeb Ejaj Majeed, that is being probed by the National Investigation Agency (NIA). The youth from Kalyan, Mumbai, was brought back to India by intelligence agencies last November via Istanbul after he was shot and wounded while fighting for Islamic State in the Syrian city of Al-Raqqa.

Immediately after arriving in Mumbai, Majeed was arrested by NIA under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, following which the agency filed a chargesheet in the NIA special court in Mumbai in May. This was one of the first instances of an Indian going abroad to fight for Islamic State.

A classified note related to the investigations into the case reviewed by Mint says that during interrogation, Majeed disclosed that “ISIS in conspiracy with certain other terrorist organizations is keen that not only resident Indian citizens join the outfit but are also trying to recruit non-resident Indians settled abroad for participating in the so called holy jihad not only in Iraq and Syria but also in India and other countries".

Investigations by NIA and other central intelligence agencies also revealed that Majeed, an engineering student, was in regular touch with his Islamic State minders from his Yahoo email address while he was in India, Iraq and Syria.

With the Yahoo server located in Australia, authorities in India are have sought the assistance of security agencies there.

Indian intelligence agencies want details of Majeed’s mail, including “subscriber information, login history, IP details search history and contents of the messages of inbox, outbox, sent draft, spam and attachments".

A senior Indian intelligence official involved in the investigation said, “This information would assist in unearthing the entire conspiracy and details of the terrorist acts committee in Iraq and Syria and would also reveal the identities of the ISIS recruiters and other facilitators."

Indian agencies approached their Australian counterpart in August through the Australian attorney general’s department which, in turn, wanted to know how the information would be used in India.

“We have clarified to the attorney general’s department in Australia that information will be helpful for further investigations into this important case and the trial in a court of law. The Australian agencies are very favourably inclined and hopefully we should get this important information in the next few days," added another senior government official. Both officials did not want to be named.

Arun Bhagat, former director of Intelligence Bureau, said the case highlights the need for greater cooperation among countries to fight terror and organized crime. “Unless we all join hands in the fight against terror, this menace cannot be curbed. It is good to see increased level of co-operation between India and Australia particularly on the arrest of Chhota Rajan and now if they provide this critical information related to the server it will help reveal a lot of details about ISIS," he said.

Meanwhile, the Australian attorney general George Brandis met home minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday and discussed cooperation between the two countries in the fields of security, terrorism, narcotic smuggling, forensic technology and immigration.

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