Two Leads That May Expose Link Between Mangalore and Coimbatore Blasts

Central agencies are working on two angles that may lead them to establish if there is a link between the blasts in Mangaluru and Coimbatore. Both the accused had visited a jail in Kerala to meet a certain person, who could be the main suspect in both blast cases, top-level sources said.

According to a top official, the accused of both the blast cases visited a jail in Kerala and met a person, who is apparently the main suspect even as agencies are collecting more evidence to establish the same. Sources said both the accused in the case visited the jail this year itself but on different occasions.

Similarly, sources further said it was suspected that both the accused were in touch with a person whose identity is yet to be established. Another suspect was either running a group on a mobile application or was a member of a group of which Mangaluru blast accused Mohammed Shariq and Coimbatore blast accused Jameesha Mubin were part.

Apart from other similarities, probe agencies were also trying to technically establish a link, sources said. Apart from the suspects, there were other similarities in these two cases, they added.

In both cases, the accused purchased material in a similar pattern and agencies did not find any sophisticated explosives. Both collected chemicals and other ingredients to fabricate the explosive device.

Sources also said both the accused were trying to establish an ISIS network. Agencies were also suspecting the role of PFI cadres, who may have helped the two in planning, sources added.

The National Investigation Agency, India’s counter-terror task force, has already conducted searches this month at 43 locations in eight districts of Tamil Nadu – Chennai, Coimbatore, Thiruvallur, Thiruppur, Nilgiris, Chengalpatu, Kanchipuram and Nagapattinam – and one location in Palakkad district of Kerala in the case related to the Coimbatore blast.

“The case relates to a bomb blast in a car laden with explosives in front of Kottai Eswaran temple of Coimbatore district in October. According to preliminary investigation, accused Jameesha Mubin, after taking an oath to ISIS, was planning to carry out suicide attacks and cause extensive damage to symbols and monuments of a particular religion with the intention to strike terror,” the NIA had said.

Six accused have been arrested in this case so far. The central agency had said the accused had conspired with Mubin to procure different chemicals and other ingredients for fabrication of improvised explosive devices, including a vehicle-borne explosive from online shopping platforms, to commit sensational terrorist acts.

In another development, the NIA filed an FIR in the Shivamogga case, in which Mangaluru blast accused Shariq is also an accused. “The trio hatched a conspiracy to further terrorist activities of the banned terrorist organisation Islamic State and to disturb the unity, security and sovereignty of the country and wage war against India,” the NIA has said in the FIR.

Shariq is facing allegations that he and the other accused stored raw materials required to make explosives and experimentally exploded a bomb.

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