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Bangladeshi Nationals Arrested in Maharashtra Over Terror Links had Aadhaar, PAN Cards

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The eight Bangladesh nationals who were nabbed over the weekend by investigators from the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) had managed to procure Aadhaar and PAN (Permanent Account Number) cards, exposing the loopholes in the process of procuring the national identity documents. They were arrested for alleged links with the Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT), a terror outfit of Bangladesh said to be a front organization of Al Qaeda.

“As part of our continuous efforts to keep a close watch on illegal migrants, the Charkop unit of ATS on Sunday received specific information about illegal migrants in Laljipada, Kandivali. Accordingly, an ATS team zeroed in on the area and apprehended eight persons. After sustained enquiry, they confessed to being Bangladeshi nationals and staying illegally without valid documents,” an officer was quoted as saying by DNA on March 27.

“Those arrested are in the age group of 18 and 33 years and are natives of Jassore in Bangladesh. Two of the accused had even procured Indian Aadhaar and PAN Cards. All the accused have been remanded to police custody up to March 31,” the officer added, according to the report.

While two of the Bangladeshi nationals were arrested from Mumbai by the Pune unit of the ATS on March 18, six more suspects were arrested from Pune by the Maharashtra ATS on March 16 and 17.

They were charged for illegally entering India under sections of Foreigners Act, Passport (Entry Into India) Rules and on charges of cheating and forgery under the Indian Penal Code.

Three of the Bangladeshi citizens arrested from Pune have been identified as Mohammad Ripan Hossein, 25, Hannan Anwar Khan alias Hanan Babarali Ghazi, 28, and Mohammadwadi Habibur Rahman alias Raj Jesub Mandal, 31. The trio was living in India illegally for the last five years in Wanowrie and Akurdi areas.

The three Bangladeshis who were named are also said to have revealed that they provided shelter and other assistance to the members of ABT when they were staying in Pune.

According to the Home Ministry, the Islamic State and al-Qaida have started creating new challenges to security in India. The ministry report also said that India is still being targeted by Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM) and a faction of Indian Mujahideen, besides groups like SIMI and Al-Unmah, all of which are based in Pakistan.

India’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) registered a case against ABT on March 1 after the arrest of a Bangladeshi national Umar Farukh a day earlier. Prior to that, on Nov.21, 2017, the Kolkata Special Task Force (STF) arrested three terrorists of ABT, who said that they came to Kolkata to procure arms.