NIA files charge sheet against Church Street bomber

NIA files charge sheet against Church Street bomber

NIA files charge sheet against Church Street bomber

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has filed the charge sheet against the lone man arrested in the Church Street blast case. It filed the charge sheet against Alam Zeb Afridi alias Mohammed Rafiq alias Javed before the NIA special court on Monday.

The agency has invoked sections 302, 307 and 471 of the IPC, sections 16, 18 and 38 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and sections 3 and 4 of the Explosive Substances Act. The NIA had arrested Afridi in January 2016 after going through the footage of surveillance cameras installed in and around Church Street. It has accused him of planting the improvised explosive device near the Coconut Grove Restaurant and Bar. The blast went off around 8.30 pm on December 28, 2014, killing a woman and injuring three others.

Afridi, a permanent resident of New Ashiyana Colony at Juhapura in Ahmedabad, was living at Doddanagamangala in Electronics City and worked as an AC mechanic. The Bengaluru police initially investigated the case but reached a dead-end. The case was then handed over to the NIA’s Hyderabad branch.

The NIA rechecked the CCTV footage and released a hazy video of the suspect on YouTube in January 2016, seeking public information. “The accused, Alam Zeb Afridi, was arrested on January 22, 2016, and while in custody, he had confessed to his involvement in the blast. The accused also admitted to his primary role in preparing the IED and placing it near the Coconut Grove Bar and Restaurant, in a bid to target some Israeli tourists who were supposed to dine at the restaurant that evening,” the NIA said in a statement.

The charge sheet also claims that Afridi “confessed” to his involvement in the serial blasts in Ahmedabad in 2008. He was on the run since then and finally settled in Bengaluru as an AC mechanic around five years ago. The NIA also suspects him to be involved in an arson attack on the Israeli visa centre in Mittal Tower on MG Road on two occasions — August 5, 2014 and November 29, 2015.

The NIA also stated that investigation was on to identify the “online handlers” of Afridi, who helped him in preparation and placement of the IED.

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