The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday, February 15, 2023 carried out simultaneous searches at 40 locations in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka as part of its investigations into last year’s car explosion in Coimbatore on October 23 and the pressure cooker blast in an autorickshaw in Mangaluru on November 19.
The NIA said that the searches led to the seizure of a large number of digital devices and cash to the tune of ₹4 lakh. An official privy to the searches said the agency did not arrest anyone.
Searchers were carried out at 31 locations in Tamil Nadu and at one location in Ernakulam in Kerala in connection with the car explosion that took place in front of the Sangameswarar temple at Kottaimedu in Coimbatore in the early hours of October 23, 2022. In Ernakulam, the agency searched the Aluva house of a money-lender. It has reportedly asked another person to appear before it on Thursday.
The places searched in Tamil Nadu were in Coimbatore (14), Tiruchi (1), the Nilgiris (2), Tirunelveli (3), Thoothukudi (1), Chennai (3), Thiruvannamalai (2), Dindigul (1), Mayiladuthurai (1), Krishnagiri (1), Kanyakumari (1) and Tenkasi (1).
Multiple teams of the NIA, accompanied by the police, searched houses at Ukkadam and Kuniyamuthur areas in Coimbatore from Wednesday morning. The agency has arrested 11 persons in the car blast case so far. The suspected key conspirator, Jameesha Mubin, was killed in the blast.
According to the agency, Mubin, after swearing bayath (oath of allegiance) to the Islamic State planned to carry out a suicide attack and cause extensive damage to the temple complex with the intention to strike terror among a section of the society.
Three locations in Tiruppur and Coimbatore, four places in Ernakulam and one place in Mysuru were searched by the NIA as part of its investigation into the pressure cooker bomb/improvised explosive device (IED) blast that took place in a moving autorickshaw in Mangaluru on November 19, 2022.
Sources added that the searches were carried out based on information extracted from the accused during custodial interrogations in the two cases.