Coimbatore blast: NIA searches multiple locations in Tamil Nadu, says Mubin was planning suicide attack

People suspected to be Islamic State sympathisers and those who might have helped Mubin to plot a terror attack are being inspected.

ByShilpa Nair

Published Nov 10, 2022 | 12:37 PM Updated Nov 10, 2022 | 6:23 PM

Coimbatore car explosion

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday, 10 November, conducted searches at 43 locations in eight districts in Tamil Nadu in connection with the 23 October car blast that had killed 29-year-old Jameesha Mubin outside the Kottai Eswaran temple at Ukkadam in Coimbatore.

One location in Kerala’s Palakkad district, too, was searched, the NIA said in tweet.

The search operations began early in the morning. The local police were assisting the central investigation agency.

Police sources said searches were conducted at 20 locations in Coimbatore alone. The locations included Ukkadam, Kottaimedu, GM Nagar, Podanur and Selvapuram areas.

An official who spoke to South First said the residences of persons suspected to be Islamic State (IS) sympathisers, and those who might have helped Mubin to plot a terror attack were being searched.

In Chennai, the city police were also conducting separate searches on suspected radicalised individuals.

Digital devices seized

Besides specific locations in Chennai and Coimbatore, the NIA searched the houses of suspected IS sympathisers in Thiruvallur, Thiruppur, Nilgiris, Chengalpatu, Kanchipuram and Nagapattinam districts.

Digital devices and incriminating documents were seized from the houses of the suspects, the NIA said.

Preliminary investigation had revealed that Mubin, after pledging allegiance to the IS, had been planning a suicide attack “and cause extensive damage to symbols and monuments of a particular religious faith”, the premier anti-terror agency said.

The NIA further added that Mubin’s intention was to terrorise that particular community.

Related: Muslims shocked, Hindus disturbed; yet they both want peace

After the NIA issued the media statement, BJP’s Tamil Nadu state president K Annamalai said his party’s view on the incident has been vindicated. The “DMK government cannot call it a cylinder blast anymore,” he tweeted.

Background

Even though the Coimbatore car explosion was initially suspected to be an accidental LPG cylinder blast, the presence of marbles and nails near the gutted car made the police suspicious.

Nails coimbatore car blast

Picture of nails stored by Jameesha Mubin.

Their fear came true when they visited Mubin’s residence in Kottaimedu. A stench of chemicals welcomed them as they opened the house door. They found boxes containing chemicals used in explosives, such as potassium nitrate, aluminium powder, sulphur and charcoal, weighing around 75 kg.

The investigators then also found Mubin’s note, in which he had recorded his understanding of jihad, the circumstances under which it should be carried out, how to make explosives, idolatry, and other topics.

A further probe led to the arrest of Mubin’s six associates, who allegedly helped him get the Maruti-800 car that had exploded and to procure the explosive materials.

Considering the seriousness of the case, the police invoked the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). The state government later decided to transfer the probe to the NIA.

Accordingly, the NIA registered a First Information Report on 28 October and began its probe.

The investigators were now trying to find whether a larger conspiracy was involved, or if Mubin was acting on his own or at the behest of an external handler. The probe would also look into others who might be part of the suspected terror module.