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Bengaluru Café Blast Accused Held in Bengal

Bengaluru Café Blast Accused Held in Bengal

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NEW DELHI, Apr 12: The two men who plotted and executed the blast that rocked Rameshwaram Café in Bengaluru last month have been arrested from Kanthi in East Midnapore district in West Bengal, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) said on Friday.

Mussavir Hussain Shazeb and Abdul Matheen Taha were caught after a joint operation by central agencies and police from Bengal, Karnataka, Telangana, and Kerala, and have been remanded in the NIA custody for five days of while they are transported to Bengaluru.

The available evidence indicates Shazeb planted the explosive device, placed inside a backpack, at the popular eatery. Taha was responsible for planning the attack and for their disappearance.

These are the second and third arrests in this case; last month Muzammil Shareef, who extended logistical support to the Shazeb and Taha, was taken into custody.

Residents of Karnataka’s Shivamogga district, Shazeb and Taha were traced to Kanthi after officials conducted searches at 18 locations across Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and even Uttar Pradesh. The blast at Bengaluru’s Rameshwaram Cafe on March 1 injured 10 people, customers and staff.

Fortunately there were no deaths; the bag containing the explosives was placed in a relatively less crowded area and against a large pillar that absorbed the brunt of the explosion. After the blast, the NIA released photos and videos of the accused, as seen on CCTV cameras across Bengaluru. In one such clip, the accused wearing a face mask – was seen boarding a bus about an hour after the blast.

The agency had declared a reward of ₹ 10 lakh for information leading to the arrest of each accused. The agency had also questioned their acquaintances, including college and school friends. The Rameshwaram Cafe, which suffered extensive damage after the blast, reopened eight days later, with enhanced security measures including metal detectors.

Earlier, the Bengaluru Police had registered a case under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and Explosives Substances Act in connection with the explosion at the cafe.

(Manas Dasgupta)


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