Though it was said to have been stolen on the eve of the blast, no complaint was filed

The SIM card used to trigger the blast in Malleswaram on April 17 this year belonged to a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leader from the Karnataka-Kerala border.

However, though the SIM card along with the mobile phone was reportedly stolen a day before the blast, the owner had not filed a complaint. The police refused to identify him.

Highly placed police sources said the prime accused, Kichan Buhari, had in his possession 16 SIM cards, including that of the RSS leader. While some of the other stolen cards were used by the suspects for communication purposes, the one used to trigger the improvised explosive device (IED), which left 17 injured — 11 of them police personnel — belonged to the RSS leader.

Exonerated

The police have exonerated the SIM card owner and ruled out the involvement of a purported right wing terror group which was investigated initially.

A senior police officer, part of the investigation team, said the nine arrests in the case were based on forensic evidence. The call details of the SIM cards were analysed, which led to the arrests, he said.

Refusing to elaborate on the SIM card purchased originally by the RSS leader, the police said the suspects may have used it to create an alibi and escape police dragnet. The official said extensive and painstaking investigations led to the tracking of the suspects who were present in and around the blast area.

The police refused to comment on a specific query whether the RSS leader had been questioned but added that the investigation was going in the right direction.

‘Well-planned’

Meanwhile, the suspects, in police custody, are being questioned to ascertain the role of others.

It was a well-planned operation and many more suspects are still at large, the police said.

The blast occurred close to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s headquarters, ahead of the Legislative Assembly elections.