K.V. Subramanya

The blast occurred at the JMFC court on May 10

A sleeper cell of SIMI and a LeT module is suspected to have executed the blast

‘Suspects may have planned to carry out explosions across the State on January 26’

BANGALORE: Investigations into the blast at the Judicial Magistrate First Class court in Hubli on May 10 have reached a crucial stage with the police closing in on the suspects.

A sleeper cell of the banned Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), in association with a Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) module, is suspected to have executed the explosion in retaliation to the arrests of SIMI activists across the State, highly placed sources in the State police told The Hindu on Wednesday.

Using a mobile phone with a SIM card connection, a blast was triggered at the court hall around 1.10 p.m. on May 10. The police collected details of mobile phones that were used between 12.45 p.m. and 1.30 p.m. in the particular area from the towers of various service providers.

It’s a question of time before they were caught, the sources said.

According to them, the suspects may have planned to carry out a series of explosions across the State on January 26, when the 58th Republic Day was celebrated. But they suffered a serious setback when the Karnataka police arrested prominent SIMI activists in the second week of January.

In retaliation to the arrests and also to prove that they were still active in the State, the suspects might have carried out the explosion at the JMFC court, the sources said. Incidentally, the arrested SIMI activists were being tried in the same court where the explosion occurred.

The sources said the suspected SIMI/LeT operatives, including Riyazuddin Nasir and Asadullah Abuabaker who were the first to be arrested by the Honnali police in Davangere district on charges of vehicle theft, may have planned to load stolen vehicles with explosives and trigger blasts using mobile phones.

The accused had stolen around half-a-dozen vehicles which, the police suspect, could have been for the purpose of carrying out blasts on Republic Day.

Though the police had not made public the suspects’ alleged plans to trigger explosions on January 26, they had made unprecedented security arrangements across the State on Republic Day.

Incidentally, some of the arrested SIMI activists visited Bangalore and purchased material which, the police suspect, could have been used for erecting tents in forest areas to organise arms training camps.

The Corps of Detectives (CoD), which is investigating the case relating to the arrested SIMI activists, visited forest areas on the outskirts of Dharwad, where an arms training camp was allegedly conducted in the past.