Why Karnataka police, NIA suspect link between Mangaluru, Coimbatore blasts
The call records of Mohammed Shariq, the accused in the Mangaluru cooker blast case, allegedly show his links with Jameesha Mubin, the deceased Coimbatore car blast case accused
Days after the Mangaluru autorickshaw blast, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and Karnataka police are looking into possible links between the accused, Mohammed Shariq, and his friend Abdul Matheen Ahmed Taahaa, to crack the Coimbatore blast that took place on Diwali eve. An engineering graduate, Matheen is wanted by the NIA in the Al-Hind ISIS Bengaluru Module case.
Sources in Karnataka police said Jameesha Mubin, the main accused who alleged carried a cylinder bomb in Coimbatore and was charred to death in the blast, had connections with Shariq. The latter’s call records allegedly show his links with Mubin, and police are awaiting to question Shariq once doctors, who are treating him for his burn injuries, give the nod. Mubin, the main accused in the Coimbatore blast, died on the spot.
NIA sleuths also suspect Taahaa’s link with the blasts in Coimbatore and Mangaluru. The call details of the accused arrested in the Coimbatore blast case are being matched with Shariq’s and a source said they have valid information. Additionally, NIA sleuths are investigating the usage of satellite phones for two years in the coastal and Malnad region. They suspect Matheen and Shariq could have used the satellite phones.
Matheen-Tamil Nadu link
Matheen is wanted in the Al-Hind ISIS Bengaluru Module case, linked to arrested accused Mehboob Pasha. According to police, before his arrest, Pasha had conducted several meetings at his residence in Guruppanapalya, Bengaluru, in 2019, to hatch a conspiracy and radicalise and recruit the other co-accused to carry out terror activities and join the Islamic State (IS) in Afghanistan/Syria, NIA official said.
Pasha, along with an accused named Khaja Moideen alias Jalal and his associates, was allegedly involved in the murder of Hindu Munnani leader KPS Suresh Kumar in Tamil Nadu in 2014.
The group was also allegedly responsible for the murder of special sub-inspector Wilson on January 8, 2020, in Tamil Nadu’s Kanyakumari, said the police. The accused, Abdul Shameen and Thoufiq, who allegedly shot dead the sub-inspector, were later arrested in Udupi near Mangaluru, according to the NIA.
Shariq, Taahaa hail from same place
Shariq (23), a native of Soppugudde (Thirthahalli) in Karnataka’s Shivamogga district, has received explosion training, and did trials in Kemmanagundi, Shivamogga and Navoor near Mangaluru, investigating officers said. His handler, Arafath Ali, has been hiding in Dubai, sources said.
Shariq was also in touch with one Musafir Hussain. Both Musafir and Taahaa, residents of Thirthahalli, were named as accused in the Al-Hind Module Bengaluru case. Taahaa, also the main handler for Shariq, has been absconding. The NIA has announced a cash reward of ₹2 lakh for any information about Taahaa.
Shariq was arrested in 2020
Shariq brought a ‘cooker bomb’ from Mysuru to Mangalore that suffered a blast in an autorickshaw. It was not a ‘surprise’ for the police as they have known him since 2020. He was arrested earlier in December 2020, along with Maaz Muneer Ahmed, in connection with graffiti written in support of terrorist organisations in Mangaluru, but later he returned to Thirthahalli after he got a bail in 2021.
“Do not force us to invite Lashkar-E-Taiba and Taliban to deal with Sanghis and Manvedis – Lashkar Zindabad,” the two allegedly wrote on a compound wall of an apartment using black spray paint on November 26, 2020. They also allegedly inscribed on the Old Police Station building wall near Mangaluru court: “Gustakh-e-rasool ki ek hi saja, sar tan say juda”. The police have registered a case.
At that time, the police alleged that the accused actively propagated and indulged with the banned organisation. The mobile phone, laptop, tab, and memory card belonging to the accused were seized and sent to the forensic lab and an expert opinion is awaited. The laptop and mobile phone belonging to the accused contain 1,000 photographs and videos, it is alleged.
Later, the police invoked Sections 13 and 39 of the UAPA against them. Shariq and his associate were not granted bail in the lower court, but they were granted bail in the High Court as the police failed to file a charge sheet within 90 days and it was a default bail for the accused because of police failure, a police officer told The Federal.
The accused allegedly returned to Thirthahalli and continued their activities. However, the police could not gather information about their activities even though the information on their ‘terror interests’ was found in their mobile phones and other digital tools as revealed in cyber forensic tests.
Shariq later inspired the accused involved in the Shivamogga stabbing case earlier this year and later in the bomb trial cases, it is alleged. He had been absconding after Shivamogga police named him in the case. But he managed to escape to Mysuru, rent out a house and join a mobile repair course at an institute.