Kozhikode train arson | SIT confirms terror angle, UAPA slapped on suspect

Move sets stage for National Investigation Agency to take over the case

Updated - April 17, 2023 11:57 am IST

Published - April 16, 2023 09:13 pm IST - Kozhikode

Shahrukh Saifi, the accused in the Kozhikode Elathur train attack case, is brought to Kannur railway station as part of investigation on April 12, 2023.

Shahrukh Saifi, the accused in the Kozhikode Elathur train attack case, is brought to Kannur railway station as part of investigation on April 12, 2023. | Photo Credit: ANI

Establishing the Kozhikode train arson of April 2 as an act of terror, the Kerala Police’s special team has invoked sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act [UAPA] against the prime suspect, Shahrukh Saifi, as his police custody ends in two days. 

The move has also set the stage for the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to take over the case. A senior police officer told The Hindu on Sunday that Saifi was charged under section 16 (Punishment for Terrorist Act) of the UAPA. At present, sections of the Indian Penal Code, including 302 (murder), and Railways Act have been charged against Saifi since the police secured his custody for interrogation and evidence collection.

Saifi was arrested two days after he reportedly doused unsuspecting passengers with petrol and ignited a blaze in the D1 coach of the Alappuzha-Kannur Executive Express at Elathur, near Kozhikode. Three panic-stricken passengers who jumped out from the train died, while nine others sustained burns.

Evidence collection

The police said that Saifi would be produced in the Judicial First Class Magistrate Court on Tuesday after collecting evidence from the crime scene at Elathur. Last week he was taken to the two coaches, now parked at the Kannur station, and Shoranur from where he had purchased petrol and boarded the train.

Meanwhile, police sources said that investigators had meticulously sifted through a vast trove of cyber forensic data. Their sights were set on the social media activity and call detail records of Saifi as well as his intriguing connections in Noida in Uttar Pradesh where he worked as a carpenter and Shaheen Bagh in New Delhi where he resided. The police said that numerous individuals from Saifi’s inner circle had already found themselves under the scrutiny of Anti-Terror Squads from various States. Investigators are working to expose Saifi’s clandestine local connections across the southern States, hoping to unearth valuable leads.


However, the police are still in pursuit of concrete evidence that would shed light on Saifi’s true motive and reveal the shadowy figure who aided him in orchestrating the crime. Despite the relentless efforts of investigators, who have also combed through a staggering 100 plus CCTV camera footage from multiple locations, Saifi remained tight-lipped. Saifi’s journey to Kerala aboard the Sampark Kranti Express on March 31 still remained shrouded in mystery, police sources said.

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