Coimbatore Police on Thursday arrested a sixth person for his alleged involvement in the October 23 car blast in the city, in which a man was charred to death, and is suspected to have played a major role in sourcing raw materials used in making explosives.
The arrested person has been identified as Afsar Khan alias Upsar Khan, a relative of Jamesa Mubin who was killed when the car bomb exploded. Afsar Khan allegedly procured some of the raw materials used to make the explosives through e-commerce websites.
“Afsar Khan a cousin of Jamesa Mubin who died in the Ukkadam car cylinder blast was arrested by police officials today. Afsar Khan was picked up two days before by the special investigation team,” Coimbatore Police said.
On Wednesday afternoon, police conducted searches at Khan’s residence and seized his laptop, according to Afsar Khan’s father-in-law. Initially, five people were arrested in connection with the case and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act was invoked against them.
Today a sixth person Afsar Khan has been arrested and Police said they are looking into a few more suspects.
Meanwhile, a court has sent all the five people arrested earlier in the case to three-days of judicial custody for further investigation. They will be in police custody until Friday.
The Coimbatore Police has said that they suspect that some of the explosive materials which were seized from the house of the deceased were purchased online from popular e-commerce websites.
Coimbatore Police Commissioner Balakrishnan said that the ingredients that were recovered from the spot are used for making low-explosive bombs.
“We are trying to find who all are connected to their plot and execution of the conspiracy and how the explosive materials were purchased. Some of the investigation done so far indicates that Jamesa Mubin had bought many items through Amazon and other courier services. We are investigating all the angles. When we visited Mubin’s residence, outside his house a few Amazon empty boxes were found,” Balakrishnan said.
The probe indicates that he bought some of the items online. We are investigating all the angles, said Coimbatore Police Commissioner. He said that apart from the arrest that has been made, the police have been questioning people and trying to keep the investigation open to find out all possibilities. The police official further said that the materials that were seized from the house of the deceased indicated that there was an intention to make more bombs.
Speaking about the day of the incident, the CP said, “The officers were on duty next to the scene of the crime. They saw a vehicle slowing down and when they tried to approach the area, they heard a loud blast in which a car went into flames. They immediately called up the fire service and barricaded the area. The FIR was registered on the complaint of the priest there.”
He added that Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin recommended the NIA probe into the incident and the police will follow the procedure once they get all communication. “Tamil Nadu CM has recommended NIA probe. Once we get all communication, we will follow the procedure. As of now, the accused have been taken into custody. We will be doing a custodial investigation and the investigation will proceed till such time,” he said.
In the recommendation letter, Stalin asked to transfer the investigation of the case related to the car cylinder explosion in the Ukkadam area to the NIA and continued to ensure security in Coimbatore.
Stalin’s order followed a detailed review meeting held earlier in the day at the Head Office under the leadership of the Chief Minister regarding the ongoing investigation of the case.
The five people arrested on Monday night were Mohammad Thalka, 25, Mohammad Asarudheen, 25, Muhammad Riyaz, 27, Feroz Ismail, 27, and Mohammad Navaz Ismail, 27. The deceased was identified as Jamesa Mubin, a resident of Ukkadam.
Since the explosion occurred in Ukkadam, a communally sensitive area, the state’s top police officers, including Director General of Police (DGP) Sylendra Babu and Additional DGP (law and order) Thamarai Kannan, rushed to the spot.
The DGP on Sunday said the police seized from Mubin’s house in Ukkadam 75 kgs of potassium nitrate, charcoal, aluminum powder and sulphur, all materials that can be used to make explosives.