Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday said Mehdi Biswas, who was arrested last week for allegedly running a pro-IS (Islamic State) Twitter account, has denied recruiting any person for the militant group.
He added that the interrogation of Mehdi Biswas has indicated that his activities were limited to posting and reposting of pro ISIS material on his Twitter account and social media sites.
“The accused had come to prominence in the electronic media in the U.K regarding his role in circulating IS material through a Twitter account. The central agencies worked in close collaboration with the Karnataka Police to develop information leading to his arrest. Mehdi had a Twitter account under the username @ShamiWitness. He used to visit prominent IS related sites, mostly in Arabic language and then translate the contents in to English and repost the material on his twitter account,” Rajnath Singh said in Parliament today.
“During interrogation Mehdi disclosed that more than 60 percent of his twitter account followers were non-Muslims from western countries and a majority of his Muslim followers were from the western countries, particularly the U.K. Mehdi started closely following the developments in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan through internet during his college days and has been active in the social networking sites since 2009. Over a period of time Mehdi started interacting with people in the social networking sites on matters related to Jihad,” the Home Minister added.
An investigation by Britain’s Channel 4 News had stated that the @ShamiWitness account, which reportedly had a massive 17,700 followers, was being run by an executive based in Bangalore.
The report also claimed that the executive was ready to join the Islamic State himself if his family had not been dependant on him.
Mehdi belongs to a middle class family from Kolkata and has done his electrical engineering from Guru Nanak Dev Institute of Technology in 2012. He joined ITC following a campus recruitment drive.