Nearly six months after serial bomb blasts rocked the IT city killing one and injuring eight, nine persons belonging to a radical group in Kerala have been arrested in connection with the case.
Abdul Sattar, Abdul Jabbar, Sarfudin, Sakariya from Mallapuram, Kerala and Mujeeb, Faizal, Abdul Jaleel, Manaf of Kannur, and Badruddin from Ernakulum have been arrested for their alleged involvement in the July 2008 blasts, DGP Ajai Kumar Singh said.
Four others involved in the blasts were killed in an encounter with the Indian army in Jammu and Kashmir while they were attempting to crossover to Pakistan between October 4 and 7. They were identified as Abdul Raheem, son-in-law of Sattar, Mohammad Fyas, Fayis and Mohammad Yasin from Kerala, he said.
Police, however, did not reveal the name of the group they belonged to. Police also did not divulge anything regarding its association to any militant outfits like Lakshar-e-Toiba.
The module was "radicalised by general feeling of perceived injustice to Muslims in India due to Babri Masjid demolition and Godhra incident and Gujarat riots," the police officer said.
They decided (to trigger blasts) on Bangalore due to the iconic status it acquired after the IT boom and the economic prosperity and that it was BJP-ruled, they said.
The case was cracked following investigation and clues collected from various sources and close interaction with police forces in other parts of the country and interrogation of Abdul Sattar, Shankar Bidari, Police Commissioner, who was also present at the press meet, said.
Bangalore city police and Andhra Pradesh Police had arrested Sattar from his hideout in Hyderabad and brought him to Bangalore for interrogation, he said.
Meanwhile, Kerala Police, based on inputs from Jammu and Kashmir police that some youths had been radicalised and induced to cross the border for training, had arrested five persons-Abdul Jabbar, Mujeeb, Abdul Jaleel, Faizal and Badruddin for participation in terrorist activities, he said.
Investigations revealed that Mujeeb was staying in a house at Bommasandra in Bangalore, he said.
When the Bangalore blast was conspired and finalised, they brought materials like ammonium nitrate, nuts and bolts and printed circuit boards required for preparing the bombs, from Kannur to Bangalore and hid it in Mujeeb's house, the officer said
They also purchased items like plastic and steel tiffin carriers, buckets, empty plastic containers, bag of cement. Cement concrete flower pots used to hide the bombs that were prepared using nuts and bolts as projectiles, he said.
"The timer devices used for unexploded IEDs at Surat and the Bangalore blasts were similar," said Bidari adding that these devices could have been sourced commonly from Kerala.
After preparing the bomb, they conducted a recce of the city for two days to identify the place to plant them. Timers were fixed into the bombs. They then placed the bombs at different places from Madiwala to Kengeri on July 24 and left for Kerala, he said.
Investigations revealed that a meeting between Adbul Sattar and Riyaz Bhatkal, one of the accused in the Gujarat blasts, had taken place on April 13 at a room in a Tourist Home at Kuttipuram in Kerala's Ernakulum district. The meeting was part of the conspiracy to prepare microchips for the microchip based timer devices used for the IEDs, police officials said.
The investigating team interrogated Abdul Sattar and other members of the group lodged in Kannur jail. The interrogation revealed that the Bangalore blasts were conspired at three meetings held during April and May at a place close to Parappana Angadi, Chettipada Public Health Centre of Kerala and also at Silsila Noorisa Tariquat in Kannur.
Bhatkal is one of the leaders of the Indian Mujahideen in charge of the Gujarat module, the police officials said.
"This could just be the beginning", said Gopal Hosur, Joint Commissioner Crime, adding that more arrests were likely. "We will take it to the logical end," he said.
About 500 cement flower pot makers were questioned and more than 3,500 auto drivers interrogated to ascertain whether the explosives were brought in autos, he said.
Police said some accused were also involved in criminal cases in Kerala, including a murder bid against political leader Rahim Pokadesai on January 10, 2008, killing of a Hindu activist and in a conspiracy in 1999 to assassinate the then Kerala Chief Minister E K Nayanar.
The blasts occurred at nine places on July 25 last year in Bangalore. One unexploded bomb was found near a shopping mall.