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One more held in Coimbatore blast case, NIA takes over probe

Police seek details from e-commerce sites regarding purchase of explosive materials

Coimbatore car blast case (File) Security personnel check a parked vehicle after an LPG cylinder exploded inside a car recently, in Coimbatore | PTI

The Tamil Nadu police on Thursday nabbed one more suspect in the Coimbatore blast case. The Central government also on Thursday handed over the investigation of the case to National Investigation Agency after Tamil Nadu made an official recommendation in this regard.

Police arrested Afsar Khan, a relative of mastermind of the blast Jameesha Khan on Thursday. Jameesha Khan got killed in the blast and according to police, Afsar Khan played a key role in the plot by sourcing raw materials required to make explosives, The Hindu reported.

The publication, quoting police reported that a significant quantity of the explosive materials was purchased through e-commerce websites. According to the report, a special team of the police investigating the source of the explosive substances has written to Amazon and Flipkart seeking details of potassium nitrate and sulphur consignments delivered to addresses in Coimbatore and its nearby areas in the last two years.

Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu police were granted three-day custody of the five accused in the case. 

The Centre on Thursday decided to hand over to the NIA the probe into the recent blast near a temple in Coimbatore, officials said.

The decision came after Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K.Stalin recommended an investigation by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) into the Sunday blast in which an engineer was killed. 

"The Union home ministry decided to hand over the Coimbatore blast case to the NIA," an official said.

The Tamil Nadu government said the decision to recommend the probe handover to the central anti-terror agency was taken as there is the involvement of factors "extraneous to the state" and "possible international links".

On Sunday, a car loaded with two gas cylinders exploded near a temple in Coimbatore. It was being driven by one Jameesha Mubin, a 29-year-old engineering graduate.

“Mubin had attempted to get past a police check post near the temple, but fled after failing to do so,” State Police Chief C.Sylendra Babu told reporters on Monday.

Police have arrested five people who had been in contact with Mubin, and charged them under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Mubin was under the NIA radar in 2019 in the aftermath of the Easter bomb blasts in Sri Lanka, but no case was filed against him, police said. 

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