A mobile phone, which is suspected to have been used for operating a Telegram channel that was allegedly used to claim responsibility for placing an explosives-laden car near industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s Mumbai residence, was seized from Tihar Jail on Thursday, The Hindu reported. The phone was found in a cell where terror convicts are lodged, said Pramod Singh Kushwah, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Special Cell).
The mobile handset was recovered from the barrack of Tehseen Akhtar alias Monu, a suspected Indian Mujahideen operative, reported The Indian Express. “Based on information provided by the Special Cell, Tihar Jail authorities have seized a mobile phone from a jail where certain terror convicts are lodged,” said Kushwaha. “It is suspected that this phone has been used for operating Telegram Channels used recently for claiming responsibility for terror acts and threats.” He added that further investigation and forensic analysis would be done after they receive the mobile handset and other details of the seizure.
An organisation named Jaish-ul-Hind had claimed responsibility for the security scare outside Ambani’s house. An unidentified senior Delhi Police officer said the Telegram channel was “created in Tihar” area.
The Mumbai Police had sought help from a private cyber agency to track the location of the phone on which the Telegram channel was created. During the investigation, the location of the phone was traced near Delhi’s Tihar Jail, said a Mumbai Police official.
On February 25, 20 gelatin sticks were recovered from a black Scorpio found less than two kilometres from Ambani’s multi-storey home Antilia. The police had said that the gelatin recovered from the car was the commercial type that is used in mining and construction.
The Telegram channel was reportedly created on February 26 and the message claiming responsibility for the incident was posted on the app on February 27, The Hindu reported, citing unidentified officials. In the message, the sender had demanded payment in cryptocurrency and shared a link also. On February 28, another message from Jaish-ul-Hind on a social media platform claimed that the organisation did not have any role in the incident.
The investigation in the case was initially handled by the Crime Branch of the Mumbai Police. After the reported owner of the explosive-laden car was found dead near Thane on March 5, the Maharashtra ATS filed a murder case. However, the Ambani’s security scare case was taken over by the National Investigation Agency. Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said that there was something “fishy” about the NIA taking over the investigation into the bomb threat.