The National Investigation Agency said on Saturday that it had busted a gang that allegedly conspired, collected funds and prepared to carry out terror attacks in India with the intention of establishing Islamic rule, PTI reported. The NIA conducted searches in three places in Chennai and one in Nagapattinam district, allegedly belonging to the accused.

“It has also been learnt that the accused persons and their associates had collected funds and made preparations to carry out terrorist attacks in India, with the intention of establishing Islamic rule in India,” the agency said in a press release. “A case was hence registered on July 9, 2019 (Tamil Nadu Ansarulla Case) against Syed Bukhari, a resident of Chennai (Accused No 1), and Hassan Ali Yunusmaricar (A-2), and Mohammed Yusuffudeen Harish Mohamed (A-3), both of whom are natives of Nagappattinam, in the Cauvery delta region of Tamil Nadu and others.”

The accused have been charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including criminal conspiracy, waging or attempting to wage war against India, and terror charges under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

In Chennai, the agency searched the office and residence of Wahdat-e-Islami Tamil Nadu leader Syed Mohammed Bukhari, The Hindu reported. Searches were also conducted at the homes of Hassan Ali and Harish Mohammed in Nagapattinam.

The searches yielded nine mobile phones, 15 SIM cards, seven memory cards, three laptops, five hard discs, six pen drives, two tablets and three CDs/DVDs, apart from documents, including magazines, banners, notices, posters and books. The agency is now interrogating the three men.

The NIA said that prime accused Mohammed Azarudeen was a Facebook friend of Sri Lankan suicide bomber Zahran Hashim, who was involved in the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka on April 21 that killed 253 people. The NIA had arrested and questioned six people from Coimbatore last month for alleged links to the Islamic State and the serial blasts in Sri Lanka last month.