Bengaluru: The arrest of three suspects including Kichan Buhari, a prominent member of the All India Jehad Committee (AIJC) and a close associate of its founder – Ahmad Ali alias Palani Baba, People’s Democratic Party Chairman, Abdul Nasser Madani, and Kunnangudi Hanifa of Tamil Muslim Munnetra Kazhagam (TMMK) has the intelligence community on the edge as it marks a watershed in the war against terror in India.
Not only does it signal the resurgence of homegrown terror groups in the southern peninsula it also marks the return to centre-stage of Al Ummah, long thought to be defunct after it was banned in 1998.
The three suspects were detained in Chennai on Monday alongside two other suspects – Peer Mohiyuddin from Bengaluru and Basheer from Tamil Nadu. Al Ummah was founded by timber merchant Syed Ahmed Basha in TN in 1993 in answer to the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition.
Al Ummah was banned for its involvement in the Coimbatore blasts in which 59 people lost their lives and many were injured.
The BJP leader L.K. Advani, the main target behind the Coimbatore blasts escaped the attack because his aircraft landed much later than scheduled.
Last week's blast was reportedly aimed at the BJP office in Malleswaram to avenge the alleged wrongful arrest of Madani in the 2008 serial blast case and other Muslim youth in similar terror cases. Buhari, who was convicted in terror cases and subsequently released had reportedly, planned the 17/4 blast, said an official source, who indicated they were looking for more suspects.
"The suspects are jehadis and are members of different terror groups. After its ban, the Al Ummah joined various groups and last week's attack was its signature attack,” top police sources said.
Buhari’s other associates
- Palani Baba was allegedly killed by Kerala-based RSS activists on January 28, 1997, at Pollachi near Coimbatore.
- Madani was arrested in 2011 for his alleged involvement in the 2008 blasts.
- Hanifa was arrested in 1998 for his alleged involvement in the Trichy blast case and released after 14 years.
TN men supplied logistics
The police arrested in Madurai the third Al Umma man, Kichan Buhari, a native of Tirunelveli, wanted in connection with the Bengaluru blast, on Tuesday morning and investigators here indicated that the supporters of the banned outfit had been providing logistics support to execute the blast.
So far, the state police, with the help of probe teams from Karnataka, had arrested three persons conspiring the blast near the BJP office in Bengaluru on April 17.
The police had already arrested Basheer, office boy working in a real estate agency in Tirunelveli, and Peer Moideen, a tea dust seller in Bengaluru, on Monday and handed them over to the Karnataka police. All the three are natives of Melapalayam, in Tirunelveli.
The three had reportedly procured the bike on which the bomb was planted, besides a discarded SIM card, which was used during the execution of the blast, the police said here.
Yes, there are still some missing links. We could not locate Anwar Basha and Raja who were listed as the Vellore-based buyers of the bike involved in the blast. As far as we know, the conspirators had taken the bike and the SIM card from Coimbatore to Bengaluru just two days before the blast, the police informed.
Because of the TN registration number of the bike, the Karnataka police decided to look for a Tamil Nadu mobile number near the blast site at the time of blast and found over 300 cell phone numbers in the area at the particular time. By filtering the numbers, the police found that Peer had used the mobile phone of the person staying in the next room on the day of the blast. Carrying the mobile phone of that person, Peer had gone near the blast site and it helped the police to narrow down the culprits.
Next: Cops try to unravel Madani-B’luru blast link