UPI transaction led NIA to question BJP Yuva Morcha General Secretary in Bengaluru cafe blast case

NIA summoned Prasad in the early hours of Friday after they found a digital payment transaction between him and the accused, claimed sources.

ByMahesh M Goudar

Published Apr 05, 2024 | 8:11 PMUpdatedApr 05, 2024 | 8:13 PM

The Rameshwaram Cafe at Kundalahalli, where the blast occurred injuring 4 people

The National Investigation Agency (NIA), investigating the 1 March blast in a Bengaluru cafe, on Friday, 5 April, questioned a BJP worker regarding the case.

The NIA summoned Saivara Prasad, a native of Thirthahalli in Shivamogga. A painter by profession, he is the Thirthahalli general secretary of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) — the youth wing of the BJP.

An Improvised Explosive Device (IED) blast in Rameshwaram Cafe in Brookefield in Bengaluru on 1 March injured at least 10 people.

NIA identified Mussavir Hussain Shazib as the main accused in the case and Abdul Matheen Taahaa as a co-conspirator – residents of Thirthahalli in Shivamogga, both are on the run.

On 26 March, the central investigation agency arrested Muzammil Shareef from Chikkamagaluru for allegedly providing logistics support to the main accused.

In a press statement on Friday, NIA stated that it has been summoning and examining all of the acquaintances, including college and school friends, of the absconding and arrested accused to gather evidence and information.

The NIA took over the case on 3 March.

Also Read: NIA makes first arrest in Bengaluru Rameshwaram cafe blast case

Summoned over a transaction

NIA summoned Prasad in the early hours of Friday after they found a digital payment transaction between him and the accused, claimed sources.

Shivamogga’s BJP president TD Megharaj told South First: “I admit that the NIA has taken one of our party workers from Thirthahalli for questioning. He is likely to be released later in the day.”

“He has no connection or friendship with the accused. He is employed as a painter in the town. The NIA took him for inquiry after they found out that Saivara Prasad had paid around ₹500 to the accused through UPI.”

“He had been to the mobile shop of one of the accused in this case. He had purchased some electronic devices for which he paid through UPI. Learning of this transaction between him and the accused, the NIA summoned him for questioning in this case,” Megharaj said.

He added that the party worker had no link with any of the accused.

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

NIA issues clarification

After several media houses reported that the NIA arrested one more accused in the case, it clarified that it had been summoning all the acquaintances of the accused to gather more information.

“The case being a terror incident, any information on the identity of the witnesses may apart from hampering investigation may also put at risk the individuals being summoned,” NIA said in a release on Friday.

It also added that unverified news items hamper effective investigations in the case and sought cooperation in arresting the accused.

On 26 March, the investigation agency had conducted raids at 18 locations in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh, before arresting Shareef the same day.

NIA had on 29 March declared a cash reward of ₹10 lakh for any information leading to the two absconding accused.

Also Read: Cheers of joy in the air as Karnataka toddler is rescued from open borewell

‘Those who carried out blast must be shot’

Meanwhile, Congress’ Karnataka MLA Gopal Krishna Belur asserted on Friday that those who carried out the bomb blast must be shot at in Shivamogga.

The MLA made this statement to the media after the NIA summoned the BJP worker for questioning.

Gopal Krishna told reporters: “NIA has carried out a raid at Thirthahalli in Shivamogga and arrested the BJP general secretary. It must be investigated.”

“Whoever committed the mistake, whether it is Hindus, Muslims or Christians, should be shot. He should be shot and should not be freed because such mistakes should not be repeated.”

“BJP says that if anyone raises slogans in favour of Pakistan, they claim that it is Congress’ conspiracy. Whoever the people behind the bomb blast be — BJP worker or Congress worker — they must be shot,” said the Congress MLA.

Meanwhile, Congress’ Karnataka unit sought answers from BJP leaders over the NIA summoning their party worker for questioning in the blast case.

In its post on X, Congress said: “It has been learned that Thirthahalli BJP leader Saiprasad has close links with the suspect. The @BJP4Karnataka now it’s time to answer the people of the state.”

“Earlier cooker bomb blast training had come to light in Thirthahalli, now in Rameswaram Café blast case links have been found in Thirthahalli. What is going on in Thirthahalli, former home minister @JnanendraAraga’s constituency?”

“Is the former home minister not aware of the happenings in his constituency? Or is everything happening in his notice? BJP should answer,” the Congress demanded.

(Edited by Muhammed Fazil)