Police suspect former Simi members to be key plotters

Police suspect former Simi members to be key plotters

The City police suspect that five former Students Islamic Movement of India (Simi) operatives could have masterminded the crude, low-intensity explosion on Church Street here on Sunday night which killed a woman and injured three.

The police have prepared computer-generated images of the five suspects. “We strongly believe that Noorullah, Afsar, Syed, Iqbal and Idrahim have plotted and executed the blast. All five were involved in terror attacks across the country in the past and they are not the ones who escaped from Khandhwa prison, Madhya Pradesh,” a senior police officer monitoring the probe told Deccan Herald.

A large number of Simi activists have regrouped and are now identifying themselves with other terror groups, including al-Umma and Indian Mujahideen. They have carried out similar low-intensity explosions in other metros, the officer said.

The Church Street blast is similar to the low-intensity explosions in Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and Ahmedabad in its modus operandi, location, time and day. They often target areas where there is frequent movement of foreigners.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA), the Mumbai, Delhi and Ahmedabad Police, who are in touch with the City police, have expressed similar views. The City police, however, do not rule out the possibility of the involvement of other groups and individuals in the blast.

State and Central agencies are on the look out for the five suspects. There were alerts that they may carry out such explosions but the information was too vague, the officer said.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said a multi-agency SIT had been formed and would be headed by Additional Commissioner (Law and Order) Alok Kumar.“The police are also looking into the possible involvement of six Simi activists who escaped from Khandwa jail in September. We believe that some of them have come to the State and may be behind the blast,” Siddaramaiah said

Meanwhile, the Centre said the probe could be handed over to the NIA after obtaining details from the State government. The decisions came after a review meeting chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh with top security and intelligence officials.

The meeting was attended by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Intelligence Bureau chief Syed Asif Ibrahim and Home Secretary Anil Goswami.

On speculation that Simi members could be behind the attack, Singh said all details could be ascertained only after a thorough probe. Sources said two Central teams comprising investigators and explosive experts from Delhi and Hyderabad were sent to Bengaluru.

(With inputs from Delhi)

Related: Minor explosion at Church Street in Bengaluru

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