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SOURCE: PTI

The police investigating into the Mangaluru blast case on Monday picked up a person from Bengaluru who was allegedly in touch with the blast accused Shariq while another was detained in Nilgiris in neighbouring Tamil Nadu and brought to Karnataka.

“One person from KG Halli has been picked up by the Bengaluru police and handed over to their counterparts in Mysuru in connection with Mangaluru bomb blast,” said a police official.

The person is a native of Mysuru, said the official.

“Mysuru police needed him to take him to the places in that city for investigation,” the officer said.

On November 19, the blast occurred in an autorickshaw in front of Kankanadi police station in Mangaluru. The police said it was a terror incident as Shariq (24), hailing from Thirthahalli in Shivamogga district of Karnataka, was in the autorickshaw with a pressure cooker fitted with detonator, wires and batteries.

The probe is expanding across two more southern States, as an alleged global terrorist organisation-inspired suspect behind the blast is said to have visited Tamil Nadu and Kerala and police teams are looking into possible local accomplices and links to Shariq.

Shariq suffered burns in the explosion and is currently being treated in a hospital and is unable to speak. He was allegedly influenced and inspired by a (terrorist) organisation with global presence,Mr Kumar said, adding that his (Shariq) handler was Abdul Mateen Taha from Suddaguntepalya (in Bengaluru) on whom the National Investigation Agency has announced a reward of ? five lakh,” Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order), Alok Kumar said.

Shariq was allegedly influenced and inspired by a (terrorist) organisation with global presence, he said.

Hailing from Thirthahalli in Shivamogga district, Shariq was travelling in the autorickshaw with a pressure cooker fitted with detonator, wires and batteries, when it exploded. He suffered burns and is currently being treated in a city hospital, unable to speak. “…Our priority is to see that he survives, we have to take him to a stage where we can question him,” Mr Kumar said.

“We found matchbox, sulphur, phosphorus, batteries, circuit and nut and bolts from the (Shariq’s rented) house (in Mysuru). Mohan Kumar, the owner of the house, was not aware of these activities,” Mr Kumar said.

Taha was the main handler. He along with Khwaja and Mohammed Pasha from Tamil Nadu were booked under the provisions of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act at Suddaguntepalya in Bengaluru in 2020.

Apart from Taha, Arafat Ali from Thirthahalli was also like his handler, he added.

Searches were carried out in seven locations including Mangaluru, Shivamogga, Mysuru and Thirthahalli, the ADGP said.

Shariq is being booked under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, police sources said.

He was also involved in painting objectionable graffiti in Mangaluru earlier and was later released on bail.

His name had also earlier surfaced when a communal clash broke out over putting up the Hindutva ideologue Vinayak Damodar Savarkar’s photo at a public place on August 15 in the district headquarters town of Shivamogga.

The vandals had gone on the rampage and stabbed Prem Singh, a servant in a nearby shop.

In this connection, police arrested Mohammed Zabihulla alias Charbi, Syed Yasin and Maaz Muneer Ahmed while Shariq absconded.

Yasin and Maaz had told police at the time that they were brainwashed allegedly by Shariq. The group was planning to set up an Islamic State base in the country and wanted to reportedlt establish a Caliphate in the country.

A messaging services app came handy for Shariq to establish a link with the Syria-based Islamic State (IS) militants from whom they got a PDF to learn how to make a bomb, a police officer from Shivamogga who investigated into the case told PTI.

This year, the group prepared an improvised explosive device to carry out destruction and tested it on the banks of Tunga river. Their next target was to carry out explosions in various parts of Karnataka, the officer said.

“Shariq had made the gang members into believing that the independence India got from the British was not a real one. They need to struggle further to establish a Caliphate. Only then, India will get freedom”, the Shivamogga-based terror module members had told the investigating police team then.

Meanwhile, a report from Coimbatore in neighbouring Tamil Nadu said the police from Mangaluru arrived in the textile city to inquire into the possibility of links between Shariq and Jamesha Mubin who engineered the car explosion in front of a temple on October 23 and was charred to death.

Since reports confirmed that Shariq had stayed in a dormitory in Coimbatore in September, the police said they went there. They said they questioned Surendran of Nilgiris district, too, with whose Aadhar card Shariq had purchased a SIM card, since both had become friends while staying in the same dormitory. Surendran was taken to Mangaluru for further investigations, the police said.