Coimbatore car blast: Deceased identified, explosives seized from house, terror angle not ruled out
Chennai/UNI: The deceased in Sunday's LPG blast in a car in Coimbatore was identified as leading to the seizure of explosive materials from his house, even as a terror angle could not be ruled out to it.
Six special teams were formed to investigate the incident and they are probing all angles, including whether the deceased had any links to any terror outfit, considering that he was once questioned by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) three years back.
Police sources on Monday said the deceased was identified as 25-year-old Jameesha Mubin, who is believed to be a radicalised IS man and the subsequent search at his house in the sensitive Ukkadam area led to the seizure of a huge cache of explosive materials.
Mubin, an engineering graduate, was killed in the explosion that took place in front of Kottai Easwaran Kovil near Town Hall in one of the busiest commercial areas in the western city in the early hours of Sunday.
The impact of the explosion was such that his body was charred beyond recognition and the car got broken into two pieces and reduced to a mangled heap.
After post mortem at the Government Coimbatore Medical College Hospital, his body was handed over to his parents Monday.
An LPG cylinder he carried in a hatchback car exploded killing him on the spot, while another one was found unexploded at the blast site. His body was charred beyond recognition.
Tamil Nadu Director General of Police C.Sylendra Babu, who inspected the blast site, said the explosion occurred when the accused was carrying the two cylinders--believed to be 35 kg commercial cylinders--and other items including nails and marbles, which were also found scattered at the spot.
While declining to comment on whether it was a case of a planned attack on the temple that went awry, the DGP said police searched his residence and found a cache of explosive materials, including potassium nitrate, aluminium powder, sulphur and charcoal.
“Going by the materials seized from his house, this (materials in the car) could have been meant for a possible plan (for attack) in the future," he said.
He said that Mubin did not have involvement in any case in Coimbatore unlike some of his friends. His contacts and social media activities, among others, are being examined.
Nonetheless, police sources claimed that the NIA had once questioned Mubin in 2019.
Reports from Coimbatore revealed that Mubin was an associate of Mohammed Azharuddin, who was now lodged in Kerala jail in connection with an IS case.
Azharuddin was a Facebook friend of Zahran Hashim, the alleged mastermind of the 2019 Easter church bombing in Sri Lanka, in which more than 250 people were killed.
Sylendra Babu said the special teams have seized Mubin's mobile phone and are checking his contact details.
The DGP said a case has been registered under section 174 of IPC and Explosives Substances Act.
Meanwhile, the CCTV footage collected from the locality revealed a group of men carrying a gunny bag from their house of Mubin.
The CCTV footage near the house showed five people purportedly taking out a gunny bag from Mubin's house late on Saturday night a couple of hours before the blast took place.
Police suspect that one of the five could be the deceased Mubin and the police have intensified the probe to ascertain the identity of the other members.
In a related development, BJP State President and former IPS Officer K.Annamalai, terming the incident as a clear failure of state intelligence machinery, claimed that the Coimbatore incident was a clear-cut terror act with ISIS links.
In a series of tweets, he said "Coimbatore cylinder blast is no more a ‘cylinder blast’. It’s a clear-cut terror act with ISIS links."
He said the blast was handy work of terror elements linked to ISIS. Still, some of the elements were active in the state and demanded Chief Minister M K Stalin go hard on them to ensure the safety and security of the people in the state.
Tagging the CM's official Twitter handle, Annamalai asked whether the CM will come out in the open and accept this. "CMOTamilnadu come out in the open & accept this? TN Govt is hiding this info. Is this not a clear failure of the state intelligence machinery & DMK Govt?", he sought to know.
"The accused who died during the course of planning this attack had clear-cut links to ISIS & was handled from outside the country," the BJP State Chief said.
"Still some of the elements are active in TN soil. Go mercilessly after these nodes", Annamalai said.