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UP conversion racket: Another Maharashtra resident held, ‘was in touch with key accused’

The arrested man has been identified as Dheeraj Jagtap alias Dheeraj Deshmukh (44), a resident of Maharashtra’s Yavtmal district. Jagtap, who had adopted Islam a year ago, was caught in Kanpur and brought to the ATS office in Lucknow, following which he was arrested.

The Uttar Pradesh Anti-terrorist Squad (ATS) on Friday arrested one more person for his alleged involvement in a conversion racket, taking the total arrests to 14.

The arrested man has been identified as Dheeraj Jagtap alias Dheeraj Deshmukh (44), a resident of Maharashtra’s Yavtmal district. Jagtap, who had adopted Islam a year ago, was caught in Kanpur and brought to the ATS office in Lucknow, following which he was arrested.

Police unearthed the alleged racket in June with the arrest of “prime accused” Umar Gautam. Later, five more Maharashtra residents, including Rameshwar Kaware alias Adam, Bhupriya Bando alias Arsalan Mustafa and Kausar Alam, were arrested.

Jagtap would be produced before a local court of Lucknow, said a police officer.

Police said Jagtap was allegedly working with Kaware, Bando and Alam. He used to trap people by promising jobs or any other kind of assistance as well as using fear.

Police said, during preliminary inquiry they had found that Jagtap was also working with “prime accused” Umar Gautam and Kaleem Siddiqui.

To promote conversion, police said Jagtap had formed three WhatsApp groups — ‘Revert, Rehab and Dawah’ — where people were lured to adopt Islam. Fundamentalist messages were shared on these groups by Jagtap and others, said the officer quoted above. Jagtap was a main member of a group, named Islamic Youth Federation run by Dr Faraz Shah, who arrested in August by ATS.

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