Coimbatore car blast: Five arrested, UAPA invoked. NIA may take over the case

Kovai Car blast: From all the evidence gathered, it appears to have been a terror plot and a fit case for the NIA to take over

Kovai Car blast: From all the evidence gathered, it appears to have been a terror plot and a fit case for the NIA to take over
Kovai Car blast: From all the evidence gathered, it appears to have been a terror plot and a fit case for the NIA to take over

5 arrested, UAPA invoked as police probe terror links in Coimbatore car blast case

Tamil Nadu Police has invoked the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in the case relating to a car explosion in the city that killed one person, while five others have been arrested over the incident, and police have intensified the probe covering all aspects including terror angle. The arrested were identified by the police as Muhammad Talka, Muhammed Azharuddin, Muhammed Riyaz, Firoze Ismail, and Muhammed Nawaz Ismail, all in their 20s. With some of the suspects being enquired by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in 2019, the Police were also probing their activities after that, City Police Commissioner V Balakrishnan said.

It is widely expected that as the terror angle is doubted, the State Police may transfer the case to NIA. Hours after the Tamil Nadu BJP questioned why the police had not specified the reasons for the arrest of the five and the sections under which they have been detained, Balakrishnan said that besides the UAPA, other IPC sections like conspiracy have also been included in the case.

Police are also probing if the man killed in the gas cylinder explosion in the car on Sunday, Jemisha Mubeen had any links with Mohammed Azharuddin, an accused in the Easter Sunday bomb blasts in a Sri Lankan Church in 2019, which killed over 250 people. The Kerala visits of some of the arrested are also being investigated.

Further, 75 kg of potassium nitrate, charcoal, and aluminum powder have been recovered from Mubeen’s house, Balakrishnan added. These chemicals are used in making country bombs,” police had said earlier. “UAPA has been invoked since there has been an explosion,” Balakrishnan told reporters here.

Three of the arrested were seen in a CCTV footage, along with Mubeen earlier, carrying two LPG cylinders and two small drums, the content of which has been sent for forensic examination, the Commissioner said. While the three had helped Mubeen carry the items “with knowledge,” another person was apprehended for coordination. One man was arrested for providing the car, added the City Police Commissioner.

Soon after the explosion on Sunday, the Police took all steps to maintain law and order, and this ensured Deepavali was celebrated peacefully on Monday, he said. The number of checkpoints in the city has been increased and pickets erected wherever required.

Meanwhile, the opposition BJP targeted the ruling DMK over the matter and said it exposed “intelligence failure.” “How long will it take for the Chief Minister to accept the Intelligence has failed…Bring professionals back to the force…The Home department had solid professionals, with those good in counter-terrorism, prior to 2021,” TN BJP president K Annamalai said, addressing a press conference in Chennai.

Annamalai who was a former IPS officer, expressed apprehensions if the Sunday explosion was some kind of a “suicide attack,” and claimed the western region of the state, comprising the industrial city of Coimbatore among others, was on the radar of “the ISIS.” Without divulging details, he said he has written to Union Home Minister Amit Shah over the explosion.

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