The militant outfit Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen, Bangladesh (JMB) that was banned in the country about eight years back left its footprint in three Indian states to regroup and mobilise a terror campaign in Bangladesh during the anti-government movement by the opposition.
JMB militants were on the run since the incumbent Awami League government launched a crackdown on it. Most of the JMB members fled to neighbouring Indian states of Assam, West Bengal and also moved further west.
The militants were smuggling back improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to Bangladesh. Such devices are widely used in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Indian National Investigation Agency (NIA) investigators were baffled by the skills of JMB militants in developing IEDs that they possibly learnt from Maoists in Nepal, who are believed to be trained by Pakistan's dreaded spy agency ISI.
NIA on Monday submitted a 164-page charge sheet to a special court in Kolkata and blamed the JMB and the accusations include criminal conspiracy and waging war against Bangladesh.
The conspiracy by JMB referred as "a proscribed terrorist organisation in Bangladesh to overthrow the existing government in the neighbouring nation through violent terrorist acts," the NIA statement said.
Of the 21 people including four Bangladeshis accused in the charge sheet 13 are in custody while eight are still at large and the Indian security agency launched a nation-wide a man-hunt for the fugitives.
Among eight key accused still absconding, several were believed to be in Bangladesh. They included Kausar, a Bangladeshi who had set up his base in Burdwan and was in regular touch with the bomb making unit. Kausar was believed to be a "courier" who took "explosives consignment" to different locations.
Other absconding persons are Md. Yusuf and Burhan Sheikh - both used to work at Simulia madrassa in Burdwan district where alleged 'jihadi training" was imparted to targeted women. Another Bangladeshi national Nasirullah alias Sahadat Sheikh alsia Sohail alias Hathkata is a key operative who is still at large.
The accused have been charged under various sections of the law relating to offences of terrorism, conspiracy, recruitment, funding, running terrorist training camps, possession of arms and explosives, forgery and offences related to foreigners act and passport act.
The charge sheet comes 177 days after the Indian government handed over the case to the NIA instead of West Bengal state police authority.
During the investigation, the investigating agency examined more than 250 witnesses and conducted around 100 searches across the states of West Bengal, Assam and Jharkhand, and also in Bangladesh.
The charge sheet claimed that JMB had established its network in many districts - particularly Murshidabad, Nadia, Malda, Birbhum and Burdwan in Bengal; Barpeta in Assam; and Sahibganj and Pakur in Jharkhand.
"Its activities in India primarily included recruitment, radicalisation and training of vulnerable youth in a systematic and organised manner," said the agency in its statement.
The NIA further alleges, "A network of terrorist training camps at selected madrasas and other hideouts was found to be in operation."
The charge sheet said a "network of terrorist training camps were found to be operating at selected madrasas and other hideouts, where chosen youths were indoctrinated in the violent Jihadi ideology and trained for violent actions using explosives and firearms."
NIA confirmed that despite the submission of the charge sheet the investigations would continue. If any credible evidence is found, the NIA will file supplementary charge sheet as the investigation progressed.