Updated April 13th, 2024 at 09:34 IST

Rameshwaram Cafe Blast Probe Intensifies: NIA Brings 2 Bombers to Bengaluru in Late-Night Move

Mussavir Hussain Shazib and Abdul Matheen Taahaa will be sent to St John’s Hospital for medical checkup before producing them in front of the magistrate today

Reported by: Srinwanti Das
Rameshwaram Cafe Blast: Two terror masterminds brought to Bengaluru by the NIA for further investigation | Image:PTI
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Bengaluru Cafe Blast: After nabbing the two Bengaluru cafe blast accused, who were behind the March 1 explosion at Rameshwaram Cafe, from West Bengal’s Kantai near Digha on Friday morning in a breakthrough operation, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) team has brought Mussavir Hussain Shazib and Abdul Matheen Taahaa, identified as the masterminds behind the attack, to Bengaluru in a late-night move. They were arrested from West Bengal yesterday and brought to Bengaluru on a three-day transit remand by the NIA.

As per reports, the two terror suspects have been taken to an interrogation cell. The two were taken to the the detention cell in Madiwala. Following preliminary investigation, Mussavir Hussain Shazib and Abdul Matheen Taahaa will be sent to St John’s Hospital for medical checkup before producing the two in front of the magistrate. The two accused will be produced before the magistrate in Bengaluru’s Koramangala area.

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The two accused were brought to the Directorate of Forensic Science Laboratories in Bengaluru in a late-night move | Republic

Visuals from outside the Directorate of Forensic Science Laboratories, Karnataka, has now emerged where the two prime suspects of the Rameswaram Cafe blast case have been kept. 

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As per reports, the two accused could be produced before the residence of the judge of NIA Special Court since it's a second Saturday and a holiday. The transit warrant granted for the duo is for three days and in all likelihood the NIA will continue to interrogate them and will produce them on Monday before the NIA special court. The transit warrant of the duo ends on Sunday.

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First Images of Bengaluru Cafe Blast Accused Out

Late on April 12 night, Republic Kannada exclusively accessed the first images of the two cafe blast masterminds following the arrest of the duo from a hideout near Kolkata.

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Exclusive picture of the two terror accused, who were behind the March 1 explosion at Rameshwaram Cafe in Karnataka's Bengaluru

Following the arrest of the two, the NIA said in a statement, “In a significant development, the absconders in Rameswaram Cafe blast case Abdul Matheen Taahaa and Mussavir Hussain Shazeb were traced out to their hideout near Kolkata and were apprehended by NIA team.”

Credit War Erupts over Arrest of the Terror Suspects

As news broke out that the two terror suspects were nabbed from a hideout in West Bengal’s Kantai area, the BJP trained its guns on the Mamata Banerjee-led TMC government.

In a X post BJP's Amit Malviya raised questions on the safety and security measures undertaken by the West Bengal Police. “NIA detains two chief suspects in the Rameshwaram Cafe blast, bomber Mussavir Hussain Shazib and accomplice Abdul Matheen Ahmed Taahaa, from Kolkata. Both likely belong to an ISIS cell in Shivamogga, Karnataka. West Bengal, unfortunately, under Mamata Banerjee, has become a safe haven for terrorists,” Amit Malviya, co-incharge of BJP in West Bengal, posted on X.

In response, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that West Bengal Police's prompt action led to the arrest of the two terror accused. “West Bengal Police’s prompt action led to the arrest of two accused of the Bengaluru blast case. Within two hours the duo was arrested," the Chief Minister added.

How Was the Bengaluru Cafe Blast Executed?

Mussavir Hussain Shazeb is alleged to have placed the Improvised Explosive Device (IED) at the cafe and Abdul Matheen Taahaa is believed to have orchestrated the entire planning and execution of the blast that rocked Bengaluru’s Rameshwaram Cafe on March 1.

CCTV footage that surfaced soon after the blast showed how the suspected bomber was present inside the cafe, placed an order at the food counter and exited the cafe while leaving a bag behind, which is suspected to have been loaded with explosives and exploded after the suspect left the cafe.

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How Were the Suspects Nabbed?

Soon after the blast sent shockwaves across the hi-tech city of Bengaluru, investigating teams launched a manhunt. Several images of the suspects were released and the suspects were tracked to be on the run across Karnataka. Prior to the attack, the two were traced to be in Chennai too.

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The initial breakthrough in the investigation occurred when authorities discovered a cap linked to the suspects. The probe revealed that the cap had been purchased from a store in Chennai. Later, it was revealed that the suspects had stayed in a lodge in Chennai and kept changing their location after the blast.

Investigating authorities also offered a reward of Rs 10 lakh to apprehend the suspect, whose image had been captured on CCTV.

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The masterminds behind the Rameshwaram Cafe blast case managed to evade authorities by staying in guesthouses and private lodges, where identity verification procedures were lax or non-existent.

Finally, in the morning of April 12, the NIA was successful in tracing the absconding accused near Kolkata where they were hiding under false identities.

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Following the arrest, the anti-terror agency said in an official statement, “This pursuit was supported by coordinated action and cooperation among the NIA, central intelligence agencies and the state police agencies of West Bengal, Telangana, Karnataka and Kerala.”

Abdul Mateen Taahaa: Bangaluru Cafe Blast Mastermind

Abdul Mateen Taahaa has been wanted by the NIA since the past five years. Taahaa has been named as the mastermind of the entire case for planning and plotting the Bengaluru cafe bombing.

According to sources, the questions posed to Taahaa would aim to find out:

  • How was the payment made to fund and carry out the terror activities?
  • How many meetings were conducted and where?
  • What terror activities were they planning to carry out in the future?
  • Who is colonel?

Taahaa's previous cases include Al Hind module case (murder of TN inspector K Wilson, 2020), Shivamogga trial blasts (2022), Mangaluru cooker blast (2022). Taahaa is suspected to be one of the high-value assets for ISIS in India. He was reportedly in direct contact with a colonel whose name has been heard in many cases across south and central India.

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Published April 13th, 2024 at 07:14 IST