A deep investigation into the “act of terrorism” has been ordered a day after an explosion in a moving auto rickshaw in Mangalore.
Police are investigating an explosion in an auto rickshaw in Mangaluru. (PTI photo)
From India Today Web Desk: An explosion occurred in a moving auto rickshaw in Mangaluru on Saturday, injuring two people. While police initially balked at using “explosion” in the incident, instead using “fire,” investigators are investigating terrorist connections in the case a day after the explosion.
The Mangaluru Explosion The auto rickshaw driver and a passenger suffered serious burn injuries. When the auto rickshaw driver was questioned, he told police that the passenger had something in his bag that caught fire and spread to the vehicle.
Further investigation led police to uncover a terror plot in which investigators recovered explosive footage from the prime suspect’s home, as well as multiple fake IDs.
Here is how the terrorist attack in Karnataka was uncovered:
BLAST AT MANGALURU
A moving auto rickshaw exploded in Mangaluru on Saturday, causing fire and heavy smoke, and the driver and a passenger were among those who suffered burn injuries.
The passenger, suspected of carrying a fake ID, had boarded the auto rickshaw that was coming from the Mangalore Railway Junction area in Naguri.
A stove was secured from the auto rickshaw after the explosion. State police went on high alert after the blast, with security tightened at airports, train stations, markets, bus stops and tourist destinations, among others.
INVESTIGATION INTO TERROR ACT ORDERS
A day after the blast in Mangaluru, Karnataka Police Director-General Praveen Sood said on Sunday “mysterious explosion” was an act of terror and a “deep investigation” into the incident is underway.
“It’s confirmed now. The explosion is not an accident, but an act of terrorism intended to cause serious damage. Karnataka State Police are investigating them in depth along with central authorities,” the DGP said in a tweet.
A bomb disposal squad and a dog squad were rushed to the site of the blast and a team of National Investigation Agency (NIA) officers was also dispatched to Mangaluru.
DETAILS ON THE PRIME SUSPECT
The auto rickshaw passenger is the prime suspect in the Mangaluru blast case. He was identified as Mohammed Shariq. The defendant was previously booked under the UAPA and had gone into hiding in a terrorism case.
According to previous information, the explosion occurred while the passenger was still on his way to the predetermined location for the explosion.
Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said the suspect had terrorist connections as he had traveled to various locations including Coimbatore in neighboring Tamil Nadu.
“Prima facie, this is an act of terrorism. The places he has traveled to, like Coimbatore or other places, clearly point to his terror connection,” CM Bommai said.
The Karnataka CM said the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Intelligence Bureau (IB) had also joined the state police to investigate the matter.
“The suspect is in the hospital. After he regains consciousness, further investigations are launched. The investigation will reveal more details. There is a wide network that will be blown up,” he said.
Interior Minister Araga Jnanendra said: “The information we have received shows that there is a deep conspiracy behind the incident. It is obvious that the perpetrators had a connection to the terrorist organization.”
EXPLOSIVES RECOVERED FROM ACCUSED’S APARTMENT
The team from the Forensic Science Laboratory Division (FSL) arrived at Shariq’s rented home in Mysore on Sunday as the investigation into the Mangaluru blast case continued. The team recovered materials from Shariq’s home that were used to make explosives.
The FSL team has recovered materials used to make explosives such as gelatin powder, circuit boards, small bolts, batteries, mobile phones, wood power, aluminum multimeters, wires, mixing jars, pressure cookers, etc.
Investigators also recovered a mobile phone, two fake Adhaar cards, a fake Pan card and a FINO debit card. It is believed that the defendant probably prepared explosive devices in his home.
LINKS TO COIMBATORE BLAST?
Meanwhile, Karnataka ADGP Alok Kumar has said the link to the Coimbatore blast cannot be established at this time.
“There was an attempt to disturb the harmony of the area and it was averted. At the moment we have no information to suggest that this explosion is linked to the Coimbatore explosion,” he said on Sunday.
An LPG bottle exploded in a Maruti 800 in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu on October 23. The blast had occurred near the Kottai Eswaran temple and killed a 25-year-old man identified as Jameza Mubin. The probe was later acquired by the NIA.
The suspect in the Mangaluru blast case had also visited Coimbatore, among other places.
(With contributions by Sagay Raj, Apoorva Jayachandran, PTI)
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