The police late on Monday arrested five associates of Jameesha Mubin (29), who was killed in the early morning car blast in front of Sangameswarar temple at Kottaimedu in Coimbatore, on October 23.
The Ukkadam police have invoked provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) against them and are investigating whether Mubin and his associates had planned a larger act of sabotage, and the explosives went off accidentally.
Those arrested have been identified as Muhammad Thalha (25), Muhammad Azharudheen (23) of Ukkadam, Muhammad Riyas (27), Firoz Ismail (27) and Muhammad Nawaz Ismail (27) from G. M. Nagar near Ukkadam. They were produced before the second judicial magistrate court, Coimbatore, for remand late on Tuesday.
During investigation, the police came across a surveillance camera visual which showed Mubin and a few others taking out a heavy object wrapped in white sack from the former’s residence at H.M.P.R. Street at Kottaimedu around 11.30 p.m. on October 22.
Those arrested included persons seen in the CCTV footage. The accused reportedly told the police that they were helping Mubin shift between houses.
According to Coimbatore City Police Commissioner V. Balakrishnan, Riyas, Firoz Ismail and Nawaz Ismail helped Mubin transport explosive materials. Thalha is accused of arranging the car for Mubin which exploded in front of the temple around 4 a. m. on Sunday.
A search at Mubin’s residence later in the day led to the seizure of materials including 76 kg of potassium nitrate, aluminium powder, sulfur and charcoal, which could be used to make explosives.
The police suspect that, in the car, Mubin carried some of the chemicals in three small cans, two LPG cylinders, marbles and nails to create an explosive and added isopropyl alcohol (to the chemicals) to increase the impact of the blast. The police await the results of the forensic examination of samples collected from the blast site to confirm the use of chemicals.
The police suspect that the explosion could have happened when Mubin tried to abandon the vehicle carrying the explosive after seeing a police presence ahead.
After the blast, the police found one of the two LPG cylinders exploded and Mubin’s charred body on the road with marbles and nails scattered around the mangled car.
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Asked whether Mubin attempted to become a human bomb, senior police officers said the chances were unlikely as he left a cache of explosive materials in his house, possibly for use in future.
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Following the blast, the Ukkadam Police initially registered a case under Sections 174 (police to enquire and report on suicide, etc.) of the Code of Criminal Procedure and Section 3 (punishment for causing explosion likely to endanger life or property) of the Explosive Substances Act.
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Later, Sections 120 B (punishment for criminal conspiracy), 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony), of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 16 (punishment for terrorist act) and 18 (punishment for conspiracy, etc.) of the UAPA were added to the First Information Report, said Mr. Balakrishnan.