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NIA raids underway at 45 places across Tamil Nadu in Coimbatore blast case

NIA said that Asgar entered into a criminal conspiracy with his associates to influence, radicalize and motivate Indian Muslims to prepare for violent jihad against the Indian State

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is carrying out searches at 45 locations in Tamil Nadu in connection with its ongoing probe into October 23 Coimbatore LPG cylinder explosion that occurred in a car, sources said on Thursday.

A 29-year-old man Jameesha Mubin was killed in a car explosion near a temple in Coimbatore during the wee hours on October 23.

NIA officials, in coordination with the state police, started the raids early on Thursday at the residential premises of suspects related to incidents in areas like Kottamedu, Ponvizha Nagar, Rathinapuri, and Ukkadam.

The Central anti-terror agency’s massive search occurred nearly 15 days after it registered a case following the Counter Terrorism and Counter Radicalization (CTCR) division of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued an order asking it to start a probe into the matter.

The MHA order was issued a day after Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin recommended for NIA probe in the case.

Stalin, in a recommendation letter, to the MHA had requested to transfer the investigation of the case related to the car cylinder explosion in the Ukkadam area in Coimbatore to the NIA and directed police to ensure security in Coimbatore.

Earlier the state police had seized materials used to make explosives from Mubin’s house in Ukkadam. The seizure included 75 kg of potassium nitrate, charcoal, aluminium powder and sulphur which can be used to make explosives.

Tamil Nadu Police so far has arrested over half a dozen people in connection with the case, and have invoked the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

Those arrested are learnt to be associates of Jameesha Mubin, who was charred to death in suspicious circumstances after an LPG cylinder inside a Maruti 800 he was driving exploded near a temple around 4 am.

As per police Mubin, 25, who was an engineering graduate, has been previously questioned by the NIA officials in 2019 for alleged terror links. His name is mentioned as the primary accused in the case.

Among the arrested people are Mohammad Thalka (25), Mohammad Asarudheen (25), Muhammad Riyaz (27), Feroz Ismail (27), Mohammad Navaz Ismail (27), and Afsar Khan, a relative of the deceased. Khan is the cousin of the deceased and he was picked two days before the blast by the special investigation team.

The explosion occurred in Ukkadam which is a communally sensitive area.