Bengaluru: Police Commissioner M N Reddi, announcing the arrest of Mehdi Masroor Biswas, had described him as an “aggregator”, claiming that most tweets by Mehdi were retweets or translation of Arabic tweets into English. He had claimed that he had become popular with English IS ideologues and wannabe fighters, as he acted as a bridge to the Arabic world.
Investigators also claimed to have found material on his laptop, downloaded from the net, some of which was in Arabic. This was contested from day one as Mehdi’s mother Mamtaz Begum as well as his counsel Jaffer Shah insisted that Mehdi is not proficient in Arabic. Shah had even termed the accusation of Mehdi being a sort of bridge between the English and Arabic world as “absurd”.
Now, the police are also conceding that Mehdi could not have read, assimilated and translated large data in Arabic to English. Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) Abhishek Goyal told The Hindu, “During our investigation, we have discovered that Mehdi is not proficient in Arabic.”
A senior police officer claimed that Mehdi read bits of Arabic but couldn’t translate. He said Mehdi has claimed to have used an online software to translate Arabic material into English, which he later tweeted. Sifting through the 1.3 lakh tweets, the official said that there were very few translations of Arabic tweets as most of them were retweets in Arabic. Mehdi reportedly claimed he did not understand the full import of these tweets.