In a significant development, the Uttar Pradesh Anti Terrorist Squad (UP ATS) apprehended a former student of Lucknow’s Nadwatul Ulama, identified as 37-year-old Mohammed Abdul Awwal, at New Delhi’s Nizamuddin railway station on December 20. Originally from Assam’s Goalpara, Abdul Awwal has been residing in Delhi since 2018.
According to the ATS, Abdul Awwal had been residing in Shram Vihar, Jamia Nagar, Okhla, New Delhi, for the past five years, completing his Class 12 education under the Madrasa educational system. The UP ATS revealed that he was involved in illicit activities related to foreign fundings received by a Delhi-based NGO for social welfare activities. The funds, allegedly received as donations, were being channeled through ‘suspicious’ bank accounts in the National Capital Region (NCR) and Delhi.
Abdul Awwal was accused of opening accounts in a private bank under the names of illegally migrating Bangladesh and Myanmar citizens to obtain funds from the NGO’s Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) accounts. The UP ATS suspects that these funds were utilised for anti-national activities and terror funding, with approximately 20 crore transferred to similar accounts in the preceding four years.
This arrest is part of an ongoing investigation by the UP ATS into the activities of suspected terrorists. Earlier on October 11, 2023, the ATS had filed an FIR against 10 individuals, including Abdul Awwal, over allegations of illegally soliciting funds from abroad to build mosques in India, settling Rohingya and Bangladeshi citizens in the country, and engaging in anti-national activities. Many of the accused have ties to Darul Uloom of Deoband.
During Abdul Awwal’s interrogation, it was disclosed that he met Abdul Gaffar in Delhi during the Covid outbreak in 2020. Gaffar and associates persuaded him to open bank accounts in the names of Bangladeshi nationals and Rohingyas. These accounts were used for transferring funds through FCRA accounts of the NGO ‘Sun Shine Health and Social Welfare Trust,’ which received funds from European countries.
While Gaffar is still at large, efforts are underway to apprehend him. ATS officials emphasised that the modus operandi suggested a nexus involved in using foreign funds for anti-national activities by violating FCRA norms. The ATS is meticulously scrutinizing details of all associated bank accounts, and further investigation is ongoing.