Mamata, WBP counter BJP claim after Bengaluru blast accused arrest

The BJP's IT cell chief Amit Malviya had tweeted that West Bengal was a 'safe haven for terrorists' under the Mamata Banerjee government

Rameshwaram Cafe blast accused Mussavir Hussain Shazib and Adbul Matheen Ahmed Taahaa (photo: IANS)
Rameshwaram Cafe blast accused Mussavir Hussain Shazib and Adbul Matheen Ahmed Taahaa (photo: IANS)


Hitting out at the BJP for alleging that West Bengal "has become a safe haven for terrorists", chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday said the accused in Bengaluru's Rameshwaram Café blast case were arrested because of prompt action by the state police.

In a reported joint operation with West Bengal Police (WBP), the National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested Mussavir Hussain Shazib and his alleged accomplice Abdul Matheen Taha from a hideout in Purba Medinipur district, about 130 km from Kolkata, on Friday.

The arrests triggered a political slugfest in the state, with the opposition BJP, particularly the party's IT cell chief Amit Malviya, claiming on social media that the TMC regime had turned the state into a safe haven for terrorists.

"Heard one BJP leader say Bengal is not safe. The accused were arrested within two hours following prompt response by the police. What about the states where you (BJP) are in power?" Banerjee said at an election rally in Cooch Behar. "What about Uttar Pradesh Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Gujarat and Bihar?"

Echoing the chief minister's remarks and confirming the arrests, the WBP said in an X post, "Contrary to the claims made by @amitmalviya, the fact is that, two suspects in the Rameshwaram Cafe blast case have been arrested from Purba Medinipur in a JOINT operation by the West Bengal Police and the Central Intelligence Agencies.

"The proactive role of WBP in the matter has been officially acknowledged by the Central Agencies. West Bengal has NEVER been a safe haven for terrorists and the state police will continue to remain ever-vigilant in keeping its people safe from nefarious activities.

Banerjee also blamed the BJP for spreading canards against the state, and accused the saffron party of misusing Central agencies and not allowing a "level-playing field for all political parties" in the elections.

Earlier, it was reported that having gathered inputs about the duo's movements in Assam and West Bengal, the NIA arrested the accused, for each of whom it had earlier announced a Rs 10 lakh reward.

Shazib alias Shazeb (30) is a resident of Thirthahalli town in Karnataka's Shivamogga district, while Taahaa alias Matheen alias Taha alias Vignesh D. alias Sumit is also wanted in other cases.

"Shazib is the accused who placed the IED (improvised explosive device) in the café and Taha is the mastermind behind the planning, execution of the blast, and subsequent evasion from the law," NIA sources said.

Shazib had been using a forged driving license in the name of Mohammed Juned Sayed or other similar forged ID documents to conceal his identity. The accused was also using identity documents such as forged Aadhaar cards bearing Hindu names. His other aliases are Mohammand Junaid Hussain and Mohammed Juned Sayed.

The low-intensity IED was manufactured in Cuddalore city of Tamil Nadu. Mussavir had allegedly carried the bomb to Bengaluru and met Taha in the city's K.R. Puram locality.

Taha was the mastermind who planned the manufacturing of the bomb. Taha was also behind planting it in Rameshwaram Café in Bengaluru's IT corridor area. Mussavir and Taha joined each other before planting the bomb and later absconded together.

The NIA took over the case on 3 March and identified the main accused, Mussavir, who had carried out the blast. Earlier, the NIA had announced the arrest of Muzamil Shareef, an alleged key conspirator in the case.

NIA investigations have reportedly revealed that Muzammil Shareef extended logistical support to the other two accused.

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