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K'taka autorickshaw blast: Suspect had terror links, says CM
NIA, Intelligence Bureau join the investigation; Tamil Nadu police question a 40-year-old man in Udhagamandalam whose Aadhaar card was used to buy the SIM card used by the accused
Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai on Sunday said the suspect who allegedly carried out a bomb explosion in Mangaluru had terror links as he had travelled to various places, including Coimbatore in neighbouring Tamil Nadu.
According to the preliminary information, it was an LED-linked instrument, the chief minister told reporters.
The blast occurred on Saturday evening inside an autorickshaw, near a police station, leaving the passenger and the driver injured. Both have been admitted to hospital.
According to police sources, a cooker fitted with detonator, wires and batteries were used to trigger the blast. After the explosion, the interiors of the autorickshaw were badly damaged.
"When the antecedents of the suspect was carried out, it becomes very apparent that the name mentioned in the Aadhaar card found from the spot was different from the person who was carrying it. The suspect had a duplicate Aadhaar card. It had a Hubballi address," Bommai said.
The Chief Minister said more details emerged when the police tracked the original address of the suspect and the locations where he had stayed.
"Prima facie, this is a terror act. The places he had travelled to such as Coimbatore or any other places clearly point to his terror link," Bommai said.
He added that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and Intelligence Bureau (IB) officials have also joined the state police in investigating the matter. A four-member team of the NIA has arrived at the spot and are coordinating with the police.
"The suspect is in the hospital. After he regains consciousness, further investigation will be taken up. Investigation will reveal more details. There is a wide network which will be busted," he said.
When his attention was drawn towards the fact that the incident occurred on the day he was in Mangaluru, the chief minister said he had attended the programme in the coastal city and returned from there at 3 pm whereas the blast happened after that.
Meanwhile, police sources said the suspect had obtained a mobile SIM card using the fake Aadhaar card, which was found from the site of explosion. That SIM card was used everywhere by him, they said.
Police suspect that the person had links with those who had carried out a car blast in Coimbatore in October ahead of Deepavali. On October 23, a youth was charred to death when a cylinder exploded in a moving car outside a temple in Coimbatore. The case is being probed by the NIA.
The police sources suspected that the terror suspect hailed from Shivamogga and might have been involved in the objectionable graffiti in the town.
Recently, a few terror suspects were arrested from Shivamogga including some youth who were in touch with the terror outfit Islamic State (IS) through social media.
Tamil Nadu police interrogate man over links with accused
The tamil Nadu police are questioning a 40-year-old man in Udhagamandalam in connection with the autorickshaw blast in Mangaluru as the mobile SIM card used by the accused was allegedly bought using his Aadhaar card.
Based on information, police rushed to Kundasappai village and questioned Surendran about the incident, where the accused got the SIM card through his Aadhar card, they said.
Police had claimed that the SIM card used by the accused was bought by submitting a fake Aadhar card which led police to Surendran.
Interrogation is underway to ascertain whether Surendran had helped the accused to buy the SIM card or the accused used the number without his knowledge, they added.
Surendran is being taken to Coimbatore for further interrogation.
An explosion in a moving autorickshaw, near a police station, left the passenger and the driver injured in Mangaluru on Saturday evening. Both have been admitted to hospital. According to sources, a cooker fitted with detonator, wires and batteries were used to trigger the blast.
Meanwhile, police intensified vehicle checks on the outskirts of Coimbatore, particularly those coming from Karnataka on the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border at Anaikatty and Mangarai, police pointed out.
Security has also been beefed up in the city with police teams carrying out baggage checks of passengers at railway stations, bus stands and of those moving in suspicious manner at places where large crowds are seen.