• Saturday, April 20, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

Modi government hands over Bengaluru cafe blast probe to elite agency

Authorities suspect link between the blast at the cafe and a cooker bomb explosion in the coastal city of Mangaluru in November 2022.

A police personnel stands guard near the site of a bomb blast at Rameshwaram Cafe in Bengaluru on March 2, 2024. (Photo by IDREES MOHAMMED/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

THE Indian home affairs ministry on Monday (4) handed over the probe into the explosion at the Rameshwaram Cafe in the southern Indian city of Bengaluru to the elite National Investigation Agency (NIA). The blast took place in the popular eatery at peak hours on Friday (1), resulting in injuries of at least 10 people. The injured included both staff members and customers and they were recovering in hospital, the city police reported.

Raghavendra Rao, co-founder and chief executive officer of the cafe said both the federal and state governments should ensure that such incidents do not happen again and sought strict action. He also ruled out the possibility of business rivalry as a reason behind the blast saying there was little chance of anybody carrying out such an act within the business circle.

Meanwhile, the Bengaluru Police was looking into the networks of at least four suspects from the southern state of Karnataka (of which Bengaluru is the capital) who have fled the security agencies and are still at large, The Hindu reported citing informed sources. It said while two of the suspects are believed to be based overseas, another one — known by the codename ‘Colonel’ — was yet to be identified.

Read: Bengaluru cafe blast: Suspect carrying bag spotted in CCTV footage

CCTV footage emerged a day after the blast, showing the suspect walking into the cafe with a bag which was believed to contain the explosive. He was wearing a mask and a cap. Another person, who was believed to be accompanying the main suspect, was arrested.

Read: Any outfit behind Bengaluru cafe blast? Not possible to say at this moment, says Karnataka home minister

The police were probing the networks of the accused at large after finding similarities in the method of carrying out the blast at the cafe and the cooker bomb explosion that happened in Mangaluru, located in coastal Karnataka, in November 2022, the report cited the sources as saying.

The alleged module is inspired by the Islamic State militant outfit and originated from Karnataka’s Shivamogga district. In case of the blast in Mangaluru, one Mohammed Shariq saw a cooker bomb exploding in his hands in an autorickshaw. He had come under the authorities’ radar over a pro-terror graffiti in Mangaluru in 2020, along with two of his associates. All three have been arrested now.

Karnataka chief minister DK Shivakumar also speculated a link between the blast at the Bengaluru cafe and the cooker explosion in Mangalore and said all angles were being probed.

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