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NIA carries out searches at several places in TN

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Coimbatore , Nov 10 (PTI): The national investigation agency (NIA), probing the bomb blast in front of a temple here recently, conducted searches at more than 40 places in eight districts of Tamil Nadu, officials said on Thursday.

According to the NIA spokesperson, the searches were conducted in Chennai, Coimbatore, Thiruvallur, Tiruppur, Nilgiris, Chengalpattu, Kanchipuram and Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu and one location in Palakkad district of neighbouring Kerala.

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The blast in a car laden with explosives in front of Kottai Eswaran Temple took place on October 23, on the eve of Diwali.

According to preliminary investigation, the accused, Jamesha Mubeen, owing allegiance to the ISIS terrorist group, was planning to carry out a suicide attack and cause extensive damage to symbols and monuments of a particular religious faith and with the intention to strike terror among a particular section of community.

The case was initially registered at Ukkadam police station in Coimbatore and re-registered by the NIA on October 27 following directions from the Union Home Ministry.

During the searches conducted Thursday, digital devices and incriminating documents were seized from the houses of the suspects.

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Six accused persons have been arrested in this case so far. The accused persons had conspired with the deceased, Jamesha Mubeen, to procure different chemicals and other ingredients for fabrication of Improvised Explosive Devices, including an Vehicle borne IED, from online shopping platforms to commit sensational terrorist acts.

Further investigations in the case are in progress, the spokesperson said.

The case was handed over to the NIA after Tamil Nadu CM M K Stalin recommended an investigation by the central agency saying there was involvement of factors “extraneous to the state” and “possible international links”.

On the day of the blast, 75 kg of explosives, including potassium nitrate, were seized from the residence of 29-year old Mubeen who was killed after a gas cylinder exploded in a car he was travelling in. It is suspected that explosives were also put in the car when it exploded.

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Mubeen is suspected to have played a key role in a conspiracy bid to carry out sabotage activities here.

The explosion happened while he was moving past a temple in the car and he had tried to evade a police check post.

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