In a first suspected link coming between the ghastly Sri Lanka attacks and the purported Kerala module of the Islamic State, the National Investigation Agency on Monday arrested Riyas A. alias Riyas Aboobacker alias Abu Dujana, a 29-year-old resident of Palakkad.
According to the NIA, the arrest of Riyas came after his interrogation where he disclosed that he had been following speeches and videos of Zahran Hashim of Sri Lanka for more than a year and had also followed speeches of Zakir Naik.
“He (Riyas) admitted that he wanted to carry out a suicide attack in Kerala,” said NIA officials.
Hashim is the suspected mastermind of the Sri Lanka attacks and a leader of the proscribed National Towheed Jamaat which, Sri Lankan investigators suspect, was behind the Easter Sunday bombings. The police are looking at an IS hand in the attacks.
The NIA said the latest arrest was in continuation of a probe into the Kasaragod IS module case registered earlier by the agency probing the conspiracy of suspected terrorist activities.
The NIA officials said Riyas has been in online contact with absconding accused Abdul Rashid Abdulla alias Abu Isa for a long time and has been following his audio clips including the clip which he had circulated on social media platform instigating others to carry out terror attacks in India. He revealed that he was also having online chat with Abdul Khayoom alias Abu Khalid (accused in Valapattanam IS case) who is believed to be in Syria.
NIA had earlier received inputs that a group of four persons has been in contact with some of the accused like Abdul Rashid, Ashfaq Majeed, Abdul Khayoom who had already migrated to Afghanistan and Syria.
After verification, the NIA carried out searches at three places (two in Kasaragod and one in Palakkad district) on Sunday. Three group members have been interrogated for their IS links and their plans, said officials of the NIA.
The NIA registered the case in July 2016 following the disappearance of 15 youths from Kasaragod and their subsequent migration to the IS (14 persons to Afghanistan and one person to Syria). Riyas will be produced before an NIA court in Kochi on April 30.
With inputs from Namrata Biji Ahuja