Autorickshaw bomb explosion: K'taka CM says suspect had terror links

According to police sources, a cooker fitted with detonator, wires and batteries were used to trigger the blast.
Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai; Visual from the spot
Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai; Visual from the spotANI

BALLARI: Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Sunday said the suspect who allegedly carried out a bomb explosion in Mangaluru had terror links as he had travelled to various places, including Coimbatore in neighbouring Tamil Nadu.

According to the preliminary information, it was an LED-linked instrument, the Chief Minister told reporters here.

The blast occurred on Saturday evening inside an autorickshaw, near a police station, leaving the passenger and the driver injured. Both have been admitted to hospital.

According to police sources, a cooker fitted with detonator, wires and batteries were used to trigger the blast. After the explosion, the interiors of the autorickshaw were badly damaged.

Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai; Visual from the spot
K'taka auto blast: TN cops interrogate man over links with accused

''When the antecedents of the suspect was carried out, it becomes very apparent that the name mentioned in the Aadhaar card found from the spot was different from the person who was carrying it. The suspect had a duplicate Aadhaar card. It had a Hubballi address,'' Bommai said.

The Chief Minister said more details emerged when the police tracked the original address of the suspect and the locations where he had stayed.

''Prima facie, this is a terror act. The places he had travelled to such as Coimbatore or any other places clearly point to his terror link,'' Bommai said.

He added that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and Intelligence Bureau (IB) officials have also joined the state police in investigating the matter. A four-member team of the NIA has arrived at the spot and are coordinating with the police.

''The suspect is in the hospital. After he regains consciousness, further investigation will be taken up. Investigation will reveal more details. There is a wide network which will be busted,'' he said.

When his attention was drawn towards the fact that the incident occurred on the day he was in Mangaluru, the Chief Minister said he had attended the programme in the coastal city and returned from there at 3 pm whereas the blast happened after that.

Regarding the terror incident's link with the banned outfit Popular Front of India, Bommai said the investigation will reveal the truth.

Earlier in the day, state Director General of Police Praveen Sood said the incident was an 'act of terror'.

Home Minister Araga Jnanendra said those injured in the blast were being provided good treatment. They are not in a position to speak.

''The information we received shows that there is a deep conspiracy behind the incident. It is visible that the perpetrators had a link with the terrorist organisations,'' Jnanendra said in a statement.

Meanwhile, police sources said the suspect had obtained a mobile SIM card using the fake Aadhaar card, which was found from the site of explosion. That SIM card was used everywhere by him, they said.

A 40-year-old man is being questioned by Tamil Nadu Police on Sunday in Udhagamandalam in connection with the blast as the mobile SIM card used by the accused was allegedly bought using his Aadhar card.

Sources added that five teams have been dispatched to different locations including Coimbatore to investigate the case.

Police suspect that the person had links with those who had carried out a car blast in Coimbatore in October ahead of Deepavali. On October 23, a youth was charred to death when a cylinder exploded in a moving car outside a temple in Coimbatore. The case is being probed by the NIA.

The police sources suspected that the terror suspect hailed from Shivamogga and might have been involved in the objectionable graffiti in the town.

Recently, a few terror suspects were arrested from Shivamogga including some youth who were in touch with the terror outfit Islamic State (IS) through social media.

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