NIA arrests two main accused in Rameshwaram cafe blast from West Bengal; court grants three days transit remand

NIA said Abdul Matheen Taha was the mastermind and Mussavir Hussain Shazeb placed the IED at Rameshwaram cafe

BySouth First Desk

Published Apr 12, 2024 | 11:19 AMUpdatedApr 12, 2024 | 6:58 PM

The suspect captured in CCTV footage. Suspected parts of IED found at blast site (South First)

During the wee hours of Friday, 12 April, NIA apprehended the two accused in the Rameshwaram blast case—Adbul Matheen Taha and Mussavir Hussain Shazeb near Kolkata.

According to a press release by the NIA, Mussavir Hussain Shazib was the one who placed the IED at the café and Abdul Matheen Taha is the mastermind behind the blast and subsequent evasion from the clutches of law.

The release also added that the two accused were hiding near Kolkata under their false identities.

The NIA Special Court in Kolkata, where the two accused were produced after arrest, has granted three days transit remand to the agency.

Abdul Matheen Taha has been using a Hindu identity and forged an Adhaar card under the name of Vignesh. Mussavir Hussain Shazib has been using a driving licence named Mohammed Juned Sayed.

The NIA further acknowledged the support from central investigation agencies, and the state police of West Bengal, Telangana, Karnataka, and Kerala.

Medical tests of the two accused were conducted at a state-run hospital before their production at a metropolitan court in Kolkata.

Also Read: UPI transaction led NIA to question BJP Yuva Morcha General Secretary

Previous arrests

On 27 March, the NIA made its first arrest—Muzammil Shareef, who was picked up and placed in custody as a co-conspirator after its teams raided 18 locations, including 12 in Karnataka, five in Tamil Nadu and one in Uttar Pradesh.

The NIA had also summoned Thirthahalli  BJYM general secretary Saivara Prasad, in the early hours of 5 April, after they found a digital payment transaction between him and the accused, claimed sources.

NIA, which took over the case on 3 March said it identified these two accused, along with Maaz Muneer Ahmed and Muzzamil Sherif, as the terrorists who had played a pivotal role in the explosion.

“Muzzamil Sherif was involved in providing logistical support to the other accused in carrying out the IED explosion,” the NIA said.

“It was Abdul Matheen who also worked on the escape plans and managed to evade arrest all these weeks for himself and his co-accused. The duo, along with their co-accused Maaz Muneer Ahmed, were also involved in terror cases earlier,” it added.

Last month, the NIA announced a reward of ₹10 lakh each for information leading to the arrest of these two accused.

Also Read: One of the accused used a Hindu name to conceal identity, says NIA

The blast at the cafe

At least 10 people were injured in the blast at Rameshwaram Cafe in Brookfield in East Bengaluru on 1 March.

The explosion was carried out through an IED. Soon after the blast, the Karnataka Police registered a case under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and Explosives Substances Act.

The NIA is a specialised probe agency to investigate terror-related cases. The agency was created in 2008 following the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

Earlier, state Home Minister G Parameshwara had said that the prime suspect is said to have travelled towards the district headquarters of Tumakuru by bus after the explosion, and officials are following the leads and verifying his movement till Ballari.

To a question related to a pressure cooker blast in Mangaluru on 19 November, 2022, Parameshwara said there was a similar assemblage of explosives and other equipment as was in the incident in Mangaluru but that comparison doesn’t mean the same gang was behind the blast at Rameshwaram Cafe.

Also Read: Bengaluru cafe blast suspect changed clothes, travelled by bus