The Indian wing of the Islamic State group (ISIS) had planned to target Bollywood stars and extort money from them to fund their terror activities, the Indian Express reported. However, security agencies foiled their plans after a raid was conducted at the hidings of the extremist group's two modules.
The security agencies arrested two commanders of the group, who were identified as Rizwan Nawazuddin alias Khalid and Muddabir Sheikh. Nawazuddin, 19, told interrogators that the plan to extort money from Bollywood celebrities was made in September last year during a meeting of the members of ISIS' Lucknow module.
"But just before the module could chalk out the entire plan, security agencies which had been monitoring their online activities arrested them in a nationwide clampdown," the IE quoted a source as saying.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) have arrested at least 23 followers of the ISIS ideology this year as part of a massive crackdown on militants groups.
Besides planning to target actors of the Indian cinema, Nawazuddin and his men had plotted lone wolf attacks on top Sangh Parivar leaders, including RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, and the VHP's Ashok Singhal and Pravin Tagodia. They had also planned to seek help from Naxal groups to get arms.
Nawazuddin had considered attacking an Army base in Meerut, investigators said. He told the interrogators that ISIS had asked Shafi Armar, the handler of his module, and his brother Sultan to recruit men for terror attacks.
"They (ISIS) made Armars in charge of the Indian operations and they were asked to scout for recruits back home who could help carry out 'lone wolf attacks' and spread the IS agenda in the subcontinent," Nawazuddin told interrogators.
At the Lucknow meeting in Sepetmber 2015, they also finalised the locations for training. The jungles of Panvel on Mumbai outskirts, and the forests of Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka were chosen for the purpose.