Britain’s MI6 helps India home in on Mehdi

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Commissioner of Police M.N. Reddi at a press conference regarding the arrest of terrorist suspect Mehdi Masroor Biswas, the handler of a pro-Islamic State twitter account @ShamiWitness, on Saturday. Photo: V Sreenivasa Murthy

Commissioner of Police M.N. Reddi at a press conference regarding the arrest of terrorist suspect Mehdi Masroor Biswas, the handler of a pro-Islamic State twitter account @ShamiWitness, on Saturday. Photo: V Sreenivasa Murthy

Traced through mobile number after second interview to Channel 4

A globally co-ordinated effort with British and Indian intelligence agencies coming together with Bangalore City Police led to the swift arrest of 24-year-old Mehdi Masroor Biswas, the alleged owner of the pro-IStwitter account @ShamiWitness, early on Saturday.

Biswas, an engineering graduate from Kolkata and working as a manufacturing executive at ITC Foods in the city since 2012, was picked up from his one room flat in Jalahalli in the city’s north-eastern part. The arrest came just hours after he established contact on his mobile phone with Channel 4 representatives for the second time.

Sources say all telephone call traffic between Bengaluru and London was being monitored since Friday, after Channel 4 broadcast his first interview that unmasked his identity. Officials also said the operation had MI6, the British intelligence agency, passing information to their Indian counterparts. A Bangalore police official said that once they had Mehdi’s mobile number, it was easy to track him down.

Police have now booked cases against Mehdi under Section 125 of Indian Penal Code for Waging war against any Asiatic Power in alliance with the Government of India (in this case Syria), Sections 18 and 39 of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 2012 and Section 66-F of Information Technology Act, for cyber terrorism. At a press conference on Saturday, Police Commissioner M.N. Reddi said: “Through his social media propaganda he abetted ISIS in its agenda to wage war against the Asiatic powers.”

Video: Experts say arrest a wake-up call

Video: Politicos react to the arrest

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