A year after the car blast in front of Sangameswarar temple at Kottaimedu in Coimbatore, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has arrested a 14th person for alleged involvement in the attack that involved men inspired by the Islamic State (IS) ideology.
Thaha Naseer (27), a resident of Madina Avenue in Thirumalai Nagar near Podanur, was apprehended by NIA sleuths from Coimbatore on Thursday, November 2, 2023. The agency took him to Chennai where his arrest was recorded.
Sources said Naseer, who worked as a painter at the service centre of a car franchise in Coimbatore, had met Jamesha Mubeen (29), the mastermind of the car bomb explosion, a few days before the attack. He spent about an hour with Mubin at the latter’s rented house, which was around 350 metres away from the Sangameswarar temple. The explosive materials, which were used to make the vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) that exploded in front of the temple, were stored at the house. Naseer is also alleged to have met Mubin a day before the attack.
Mubin’s wife had mentioned Naseer’s visit to the house in her confessional statements recorded before a magistrate under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, sources said.
Sources claimed Naseer was also a friend of another accused person in the car blast case, Mohammed Thoufeeq, one of the 11 accused in the case, against whom charges have been framed so far.
The agency chargesheeted six accused persons on April 20, 2023 and filed a supplementary chargesheet against five others on June 2. Mohammed Idris and Mohammed Azarudeen alias Azar are the twelfth and thirteenth accused in the case.
According to the NIA, the accused persons operated an (IS) module inspired by Zahran Hashim, the mastermind of the Easter 2019 bombings in Sri Lanka. Mubin, who wanted to orchestrate an attack similar to the Easter Sunday bombings, was killed in the explosion in the early hours of October 23, 2022.