The prime accused having links with the Islamic State (ISIS) terror outfit has been arrested in connection with a terror case registered in Karnataka’s Shivamogga, police said.
The accused, identified as 24-year-old Shariq, is a resident of Thirthahalli in Shivamogga district.
Two others Maaz Muneer Ahmed (22) and Syed Yasin (21) — both engineering graduates — were nabbed by the police earlier this week. The accused, who learned the concept of making bombs from videos and PDF files, used cryptocurrency to procure the explosives required for the bomb, the police said.
The arrests were made following an investigation into a stabbing incident reported in Shivamogga city ahead of the Independence Day.
A person identified as Prem Singh was allegedly stabbed by the accused following a fracas over putting up a poster of Savarkar at Shivamogga’s Ameer Ahmed Circle.
The trio were conspiring to carry out terror activities as per the ISIS agenda, according to police.
Shariq and Maaz were arrested by the Mangaluru city police in December 2020 for painting a pro-terror graffiti on the wall of a building in the coastal city.
Shivamogga Superintendent of Police BM Laxmi Prasad said that Yasin had met Maaz while studying PUC.
He added that Maaz then introduced Yasin to Shariq, who allegedly used to discuss “fundamental ideas and concepts of jihad”.
Shariq used to send PDF files, audio and video files, and other links related to extremism, radicalisation, the works of the ISIS and other terror outfits through various encrypted messenger apps.
The accused were found to be members of Telegram channels run by the ISIS’s official media center, according to police.
After learning about the concept of making bombs via PDF files and videos shared by Shariq, the accused purchased timer relay circuits required for the bomb from Amazon. They also purchased two batteries of nine volts each, switches, wires, match boxes and other explosive materials in Shivamogga, the police said.
“The accused had experimentally exploded the bomb made by them at a place locally known as Kemmangundi on the banks of Tunga river in Shivamogga district and the experimental blast was successful,” the Superintendent of Police said in a statement.
The trio had also “stored explosives to perform jihad in the near future”.
“In the days following Independence Day, the national flag of India was burnt near the spot where the bomb was experimented and it was videographed on their mobile phones,” Laxmi Prasad said.
Shariq had allegedly sent the money required to make the bomb to Yasin through cryptocurrency.
Laxmi Prasad said the police during raids carried out in 11 locations as part of the investigation into the case seized a total of 14 mobiles, two laptops, remnants of the experimental bomb found at the site of the blast, materials required to make bombs and the half burnt Indian national flag.
Shariq, acording to police sources, had links with Matheen Ahmed Taha, who is said to be a member of ‘Al Hind ISIS’, which managed the terror outfits activities in Karnataka.
Matheen also hails from Shivamogga and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) had in 2020 announced a reward of Rs three lakh for information leading to the arrest of the suspected terrorist.