A computer engineer has been sentenced to life in jail by a local court for plotting attacks on US establishments, including the American School, in Mumbai after being inspired by the terror group ISIS. Anees Ansari, arrested in October 2014 by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad, has been in jail since.
The Facebook chats of Ansari, whose office job at a multinational software firm involved designing navigation maps, allegedly hinted at a plot to target US establishments including the school in Bandra, police said.
He used the company computer to set up a Facebook account in a false name and posted threats and other posts. His Facebook chats with one Omar Elhaji showed he wanted to carry out a ‘lone wolf’ attack on the American School, said the prosecution.
He was on Friday convicted under sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Information Technology Act, by Additional Sessions Judge AA Joglekar.
At the time of his arrest eight years ago, police had said he sympathised with ISIS fighters and described the Americans as “tormentors” in his online conversations.
“Our team that keeps a close watch on online posts got wind of his shady activities, which suggested he’d been chatting with two persons based in the UK and Australia. These people have been indoctrinated to believe in the extremist ideologies,” an ATS official had said.
Discussions specifically about targeting the school alerted the ATS, which led to his arrest.
He lived in suburban Kurla with his parents and two younger siblings. Cops said he had applied for a passport a month before his arrest, which had heightened the suspicion that he planned to leave the country to support or join the ISIS.