Chennai: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Saturday searched several premises in Madurai, Theni, Tirunelveli, Ramanathapuram and Chennai following arrest of 16 terror suspects, including 14 deported from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The search operations were carried out after a Special NIA court granted those 16 suspects' custody to the NIA for eight days.
The agency raided residences of Mohamed Ibrahim, Mohamed Sheik Maitheen, Meeran Ghani, Gulam Nabi Asath, Ahamed Azarudhen, Toufiq Ahmed, Mohamed Ibrahim, Mohammed Afzar, Rafi Ahamed, Munthasir, Umar Barook, Mohideen Seeni Shahul Hameed, Faizal Sharief and Farook.
The anti-terror probe agency official said raids were conducted at five places in the Ramanthapuram district, two in the Theni district and one each in Chennai, Tirunelveli, Madurai cities and the Tanjavur, Perambalur, Nagapattinam and Thiruvarur districts.
The agency seized one laptop, seven mobile phones, five SIM cards, three memory cards, one hard disk drive, two pen drives, one internet dongle, nine CDs/DVDs and about 50 documents.
The NIA has registered case against the 16 accused and their associates for allegedly owing allegiance to banned terrorist organisations -- IS/Daesh, Al Qaeda and SIMI. The accused were allegedly trying to set up a terror outfit named 'Ansarulla'.
According to the NIA, the accused had conspired and were making preparations to wage war against the Indian government. The accused and their associates had collected funds to carry out terrorist attacks with an intention of establishing Islamic rule in India, the NIA said in a statement on Friday.
As per the NIA, the accused were luring people for terror strikes and were posting videos and other jihadi propaganda material, exhorting their supporters to conduct terrorist attacks using explosives, poison, knives and vehicles.
The NIA had arrested 9 people -- Hassan Ali, Harish Mohamed, Mohamed Ibrahim, Meeran Ghani, Gulam Nabisath, Rafi Ahamed, Munthasir Umar Barook and Farook -- on July 13.
On July 15, seven more people -- Mohamed Sheik Maitheen, Ahamed Azarudhen, Toufiq Ahmed, Mohamed Ibrahim, Mohammed Afzar, Mohideen Seeni Shahul Hameed and Faizal Sharief -- were arrested.