Mangaluru autorickshaw blast accused’s handler is in Dubai, says police officer

Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Alok Kumar inspecting the materials seized from the rented house of terror accused Mohammed Shariq in Mysuru, at the office of Mangaluru Police Commissioner on November 21, 2022.

Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Alok Kumar said on Monday, November 21, that autorickshaw blast accused Mohammed Shariq’s ‘immediate handler’, who has been identified as Arafat Ali, is in Dubai, but is absconding. Ali is an accused in a case registered in Mangaluru in November 2020.

Shariq is undergoing treatment in a private hospital in Mangaluru for burn injuries suffered in the low-intensity explosion on November 19.

Speaking to mediapersons in the office of Mangaluru Police Commissioner, Mr. Kumar said that the suspect might have visited Mangaluru earlier on November 10 for a survey before carrying out the explosion.

Mr. Kumar said that five police teams are investigating the Mangaluru blast. Police have secured four persons — one from Ooty in Tamil Nadu, two from Mysuru and one from Mangaluru in Karnataka — for questioning.

“We have searched seven places, including in Mangaluru, Mysuru and Shivamogga, as part of the investigation,” the ADGP said adding that searches were conducted at four places in Shivamogga, one in Mangaluru and two in Mysuru on Monday, November 21.

Family members identify Mangaluru blast suspect

He said that three family members of Shariq identified him at the hospital in Mangaluru on November 21. The family members of the accused were contacted after checking his mobile phone.

The family members, who are three women, told police that they had advised him earlier to stay away from criminal activities, the ADGP said.

Mr. Kumar said police found material used to manufacture explosive items from his rented house in Mysuru, including Sulfex sulphur powder, nuts and bolts, circuits, multi-functional delay timers, mixer-grinder, mobile display items, and some other chemicals. Once the accused recovers, he would be taken into custody.

Assistant Commissioner of Police (Central) Parameshwara Hegde has been appointed the investigating officer in the case.

The ADGP said a case under the UAPA as well as under the Indian Penal Code was booked against the accused based on the evidence available so far from the blast site as well as from his residence. He will also be booked for forging an Aadhaar card and impersonation.

The investigation is now spread across Karnataka, as well as outside, and help has been sought from Central investigation agencies.

The ADGP said that findings so far have revealed that Shariq had been inflenced by a terror organisation that has a global presence.

Mangaluru blast accused got house on rent using stolen Aadhaar card

Shariq was earlier accused of writing provocative graffiti in Mangaluru in November 2020 and was later allegedly involved in a stabbing incident in Shivamogga on September 1, 2022.

He secured bail in the graffiti case reported in Mangaluru East and North police stations on November 27 and 28, 2020, respectively. He was the first accused in the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act case booked in Shivamogga on September 19, 2022 pertaining to a trial bomb blast and stabbing incident.

He got a house on rent in Mysuru by furnishing an Aadhaar card allegedly stolen from a person named Premraj.

The investigation revealed that he left Mysuru on November 19 and travelled to Mangaluru via Madikeri and Puttur. He alighted from the bus on the outskirts of Mangaluru and hired an autorickshaw. The blast occurred at 4.40 p.m., near Kankanady, while he was in the autorickshaw.

Incidentally, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai had wound up his programme in Mangaluru on that day, and left for Bengaluru around that time.

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