The National Investigative Agency (NIA) on Monday arrested three men believed to be members of the Base Movement, a terror organisation linked to five bomb blasts in courts across south India since April.
“In the last 24 hours, in a joint operation with Tamil Nadu police and Telangana police, the NIA has apprehended four youths for their involvement in blasts at … court complexes in south India. During sustained examination, they have confessed to their involvement in these blasts,” a statement released by the NIA said.
The three arrested men have been identified as Abbas Ali, 27, Suleiman Mohd Abdullah, 23, and Samsun Karim Raja. According to the NIA, a fourth individual, Mohamed Ayub Ali, 25, has been detained for questioning.
NIA officials said this group had collected explosives, mostly gun powder, which were suspected to have been used in the low-intensity blasts that occurred at court complexes in Chittoor in Andhra Pradesh, Mysuru in Karnataka, and Kollam and Malappuram in Kerala.
If their role is confirmed, the agency would then take over the probe into the Kollam and Malappuram blasts. With the exception of the bomb blast in Mysuru, all of the cases are currently being investigated by their respective state police forces.
Ali, a resident of Madurai, is a Class 7 drop-out and was working as a painter and running a local library. Raja is a commerce graduate and runs a chicken broiler shop, while Suleiman, who the NIA in a statement described as the leader of the group, lives in Chennai and was working as a software engineer for Tata Consultancy Services.
Mohamed Ayub Ali, who is currently being interrogated, was a public liaison officer for a Madurai-based company that manufacturers hearing aids.
According to a senior Madurai Police officer, the three men detained in the city didn’t have any criminal record and had not attracted the attention of the police.
NIA officials said that the accused are likely to be produced before a court in Chennai which has jurisdiction of NIA cases in Tamil Nadu on Tuesday. They are also likely to be taken to a court in Bengaluru in connection with the blast at a Mysuru court.
The agency is currently searching for two other terror suspects, Hakeem and Dawood Sulaiman.