The man who brought the explosive-laden motorcycle and parked it on Temple Street near the Bharatiya Janata Party office in Malleswaram is suspected to be Panna Ismail, one of the brains behind the banned jihadi outfit, Al-Umma, charged the city police in the Karnataka High Court on Tuesday.
The Central Crime Branch (CCB) made this allegation in an affidavit when the court was hearing a case filed by the mother of Aliyappan, another suspect, who had alleged that her son was under illegal detention of the city police.
Panna Ismail was convicted in the 1998 Coimbatore blast, the affidavit stated while pointing out that further investigation related to this aspect is under way.
“CCTV camera footage from buildings nearby showed that the motorcycle, bearing registration number TN 22 R-3739, was parked by a bearded person aged about 35 to 40 years,” stated H.M. Omkaraiah, the investigation officer, in his affidavit.
While corroborating the footage with the statements of the witnesses and the police personnel who were deployed at the blast site, the police identified the man as Panna Ismail alias Mohammad Ismail (38).
The police also reiterated that Aliyappan, a resident of Melapalyam, Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu, was only questioned and allowed to go on April 24. However, the police made it clear to the court that his role in the blast is still under scrutiny as he was using one of the mobile phones used by Peer Mohiuddin, an accused who has been arrested. The police said it would take some time for them to go through the evidence, alibi and eyewitness accounts before determining his role. Aliyappan had claimed that he had come to the city to sell biscuits and bakery products.
The police also charged that Peer Mohiuddin used a stolen mobile SIM card while buying the blue-coloured Suzuki Max motorcycle, which was used in the blast, from one Gopi, an auto consultant in Vellore.
As the court on Friday had questioned the manner of investigation by the police in the blast case, contrasting it with the quality of probe in the Boston blast, the police responded that they too had cordoned off the blast site with barricades and tapes besides deploying security to guard the area. They had collected material during the marathon 36-hour search operation that gave vital clues, which in turn provided the breakthrough. They also told the court that scientific methods were being used in the investigation.
The police affidavit said that the Forensic Science Laboratory report indicated that an ammonium nitrate-based explosive had been used in the blast and that a timer device may have been used. After going through the material presented by the police to the court in a sealed cover besides perusing their affidavit, a vacation Division Bench comprising Justice Ram Mohan Reddy and Justice B. Manohar disposed of the petition that was initiated suo motu by the court based on the complaint sent by Mymoona Beevi, Aliyappan’s mother.