Ending an eight-day-long drama, the Karnataka police on Tuesday finally arrested Abdul Nassar Madani, 45, for his alleged involvement in the Bangalore serial blasts of July 2008 and flew him to Bangalore.
Bangalore Deputy Commissioner of Police Omkarayya executed the warrant shortly after the People's Democratic Party (PDP) leader had announced he would surrender in a local magistrate's court.
Madani was held hours before the Karnataka High Court deadline for his arrest expired. The court first issued a non-bailable warrant against Madani on June 15. The date was later extended four times.
Tuesday was the last date for producing him in court.
Kerala's dilly-dallying over whether or not to cooperate with the Karnataka police team threatened to spoil relations between the two states. Kerala Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan justified on Tuesday the delay. "We don't believe in Gujarat-model policing. So we waited patiently and did it without shedding blood," he said.
Kerala's hesitation stemmed from fears of a possible backlash among minorities, given the latter's popularity.
Madani claimed he was innocent. "I don't think I will return alive from Karnataka," he said. "Soon you will hear I was involved in the Gujarat riots and even the World Trade Centre blasts."
Madani set up the radical Islamic Seva Sangh in 1989 — modelled on the lines of the RSS — which was banned for allegedly subversive activities in 1992. He then set up the PDP. Madani was also an accused in February 1998 Coimbatore blasts in which 60 people were killed, but was acquitted.
Although there was tension at his orphanage-cum-madrasa at Anwarssery near Kollam, no major untoward incident was reported when Madani was being taken away. The PDP announced it would observe Wednesday as a black day.
The Supreme Court rejected Madani's anticipatory bail application and asked him to apply for regular bail as he had already been arrested.
A heavy contingent of Kerala Police blocked his vehicle to let the Karnataka officials arrest him. The police allowed only Madani's wife Soofiya and a personal aide to stay with him.