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The three men were brought to Bangalore on Tuesday afternoon and produced before the chief metropolitan magistrate who remanded them in 14 days’ judicial custody. Sources told TOIthey were shifted to an undisclosed location where Bangalore police officers are interrogating them.
Sources also said a possible re-emergence of the banned Islamist outfit, Al-Umma, which planned the Coimbatore serial blasts of February 1998 targeting BJP leader LK Advani at an election rally, was seen during the investigation.
While addressing a gathering at the Federation of Karnataka Chambers of Commerce and Industry here on Tuesday evening, Bangalore police commissioner Raghavendra Auradkar confirmed the arrests but declined to answer questions about motive and involvement of a particular terror group.
Another senior officer told TOI that based on the intelligence gathered from the interrogation, the manhunt may continue. “We’re keen on learning more about the motives and modus operandi of these men. We’re certain this interrogation will answer many questions,” he said.
Police sleuths zeroed in on these suspects as the IED used in the Bangalore blast was similar to the pipe bomb-like IED kept by suspected extremists on the route of Advani’s rath yatra near Madurai in September 2011 when he had another providential escape, another source said.
Police said the three men helped the bombers buy the motorcycle on which the IED was placed, adding that Buhari was arrested by Coimbatore police in connection with the 1998 bomb blast case that killed 58 people. They described him as a “hardcore” member of the banned fundamentalist organization Al-Umma.
Buhari was convicted in the Coimbatore bomb blast case and was released from prison in 2008. He was also involved in a few other cases in Tirunelveli after he came out of prison. Mohideen and Basheer are married and with families living in Melapalayam. Basheer works in a real estate office in Tirunelveli. Mohideen sold tea sachets in Bangalore, police said. Basheer, Mohideen and Buhari, had been in touch with the main culprit, cops said.
NIA to quiz suspects for Hyd blasts info – The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is likely to question the three men arrested in the Bangalore blast case for possible clues to the Hyderabad blasts. The NIA, which is probing the February 21 blasts in Hyderabad, is expected to seek custody of the three accused once Karnataka police finishes questioning them for the Bangalore blasts. The NIA will quiz them on possible links between the Hyderabad and Bangalore blasts.