Bhopal: Were it not for a small group of intelligence experts in Telangana dedicated to tracking individuals and groups inspired by the so-called Islamic State, central agencies and Madhya Pradesh police might still have been scrambling to track down the terrorists behind the Ujjain train blast.
The Telangana unit had been closely scouring the web, following the suspects who were arrested from MP and Uttar Pradesh, as well as Saifullah who was killed by the UP ATS in Lucknow, well before they executed their terror plan. The team missed the actualisation of the terror plans narrowly, defeated by the lag in decoding encryption.
“All the inputs regarding identity and location of the radicalised, IS-inspired suspects came from the intelligence-cum-IT experts of Telangana police, which immediately shared these for further action. Unfortunately, though they busted the module, they could not get a sense of its terror plan in real time. This happens sometimes as it is not always possible for intel to immediately decipher the encrypted online conversations,” said a senior intelligence officer.
But as soon as the blast occurred, the Hyderabad-based experts were able to pinpoint the location of the suspects based on phone intercepts and online activity, enabling MP and UP cops to nab them swiftly.
The intelligence wing of the Telangana police has emerged a pioneer in tracking IS activity regularly imputing the IB and RAW to track radicalised “lone-wolf” operatives as well as modules in touch with foreign-based handlers. This task is being carried out by other state police forces and central agencies too but the Telangana team seems to have become adept at the task.
Sources said the Telangana ‘IS’ trackers are a small, motivated lot, who are provided the resources as well as financial incentives to deliver. They often travel abroad, mostly to Gulf countries, to track members of the Indian diaspora working as head-hunters for IS or carrying out online radicalisation. “Many IS operatives were deported to India after months of tracking by these experts, who would then pass off this information to RAW,” said a central government officer who has worked closely with the Telangana police.