NIA makes first arrest in Bengaluru Rameshwaram cafe blast case, prime accused absconding

The investigation agency said the accused Muzammil Shareef was picked up and placed in custody as a co-conspirator after its raids.

BySouth First Desk

Published Mar 28, 2024 | 8:32 PM Updated Mar 29, 2024 | 9:01 AM

bengaluru blast CCTV footage

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday, 27 March, made its first arrest in the Bengaluru cafe blast case. The arrest was made following raids across multiple locations in three states, NIA said.

The investigation agency said the accused, Muzammil Shareef, 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.

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

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

Suspects identified

The NIA, which took over the case on 3 March, had earlier identified the main accused, Mussavir Shazeeb Hussain, who had carried out the blast.

It had also identified another conspirator, Abdul Matheen Taha, who is also wanted by the agency in other cases. Both of these men are on the run, said the agency.

“NIA investigations have revealed that Muzammil Shareef had extended logistic support to the other two identified accused in the case, involving an IED explosion at the Café located at ITPL road, Brookefield, Bengaluru, on 1 March. Several customers and hotel staff members were injured, some of them grievously, in the blast, which caused extensive damage to the property,” said the NIA in a press release.

According to the NIA, raids were conducted at the houses of all three accused and the residential premises and shops of other suspects.

It said that various digital devices were seized during the searches, along with cash.

“Efforts are on to nab the absconding accused and unearth the larger conspiracy behind the blast,” the NIA said.

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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.