Car cylinder blast victim planned to blow up 5 centres in Coimbatore: Cops
Tamil Nadu Police invoked sections under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) in connection with the Coimbatore car blast case on Tuesday. Investigations have reportedly revealed that the accused had plans to target important places in Coimbatore, including the police commissioner’s office, collector’s office, and railway station.
This development comes almost two days after the incident, in which five persons have been arrested so far. Around 4.30 pm on October 23, a car carrying two LPG cylinders and combustible substances in three drums exploded in front of a temple in Coimbatore’s Ukkadam.
Jameesha Mubin (28), a resident of Ukkadam, was charred to death in the car. Subsequent investigations and a search at Mubin’s house revealed a huge quantity of explosives. CCTV footage also showed Mubin and others carrying a big object from his house.
“Target was different”
“He had collected chemicals used in country-made bombs. Mubin, along with a few others, was seen shifting things from his house. So, it was understood that they had planned the attack, but the target was different,” a senior police official, who is part of the investigation, told The Federal.
“During the search, we recovered a piece of paper in which Mubin had written down the names of five places. These might have been his targets. These five places were the police commissioner’s office, the collector’s office, the railway station, the race course, and Victoria town hall,” the official said.
Police also tracked down the people in the CCTV footage and arrested five persons who had allegedly helped Mubin. The arrested were identified as Mohammad Dhalha (25) and Mohammad Azarudheen (23) from Ukkadam, and Mohammad Riyaz (27), Feroz Ismail (27), and Mohammad Navas Ismail from GM Nagar.
On NIA radar for years
Though the arrested people have claimed ignorance, a senior police official, who was part of the investigation, confirmed to The Federal that they were all part of the conspiracy.
“None of them have faced any cases until now, but that does not mean they are innocent. They are all young. They were on the NIA’s (National Investigation Agency) radar for years. For instance, Mubin was questioned by NIA in 2019. Some others were interrogated for days in 2020. However, there was not enough material at that time to make out a case against them,” the senior official said.
Regarding the present case, the senior official said it was Mubin’s cousin Azarudheen who had planned the travel chart for Mubin. Dhalha allegedly arranged the car.
“The other three, Riya, Feroz, and Navas, who helped Mubin shift the LPG cylinders and chemicals, claim they were unaware of the plan and knew he was shifting home. However, their claim does not seem to be true, as no one shifting home would choose to move the cylinder first. Also, the odour of explosives was so heavy that anybody entering the room would have smelled a rat,” the official said.
More searches and arrests likely
Coimbatore police commissioner Balakrishnan said they have altered the sections in the FIR after arresting the five men. “Since it was a conspiracy, we have added Section 120B of IPC for criminal conspiracy and Section 153(a) for creating enmity between two groups,” Balakrishnan said.
He also confirmed that they have added relevant sections under UAPA. However, he refused to confirm whether the accused were part of any banned organization.
A sources close to the investigation confirmed to The Federal that all five were slapped with charges under Section 16 and Section 18 (both related to terrorist activities) of UAPA. “They seem to be part of a bigger gang. There could be more searches and arrests in the coming days,” the source hinted.
Commissioner Balakrishnan confirmed that there would be more arrests based on the developments in the investigation.