The NIA was directed by the Counter Terrorism and Counter Radicalisation (CTR) division of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to start the probe in the case.
On Wednesday, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin had recommended an NIA investigation into the case, considering the possibilities of alleged terror links transcending state borders and the likelihood of international connections.
Sixth Arrest Made on Thursday
Meanwhile, the police on Thursday, 27 October, arrested one more person in connection with the case.
The accused, identified as Afsar Khan (28), is a relative of the suspected mastermind Jameza Mubin who was charred to death in the explosion that took place in Coimbatore on 23 October.
The police had already arrested Mohammad Thalka (25), Mohammad Asarudheen (25), Muhammad Riyaz (27), Feroz Ismail (27) and Mohammad Navaz Ismail (27).
Jameza Mubin, 25, an engineering graduate from Ukkadam, was driving a hatchback car with two LPG cylinders in the back, when one of them exploded inside his car near Kottai Eswaran temple. The other 35 kg commercial cylinder was reportedly found intact at the blast site. Vehicle nails, marbles, and other such material too were found in the car that exploded.
Upon searching Mubin’s place, the police recovered 75 kg of explosive raw materials – “low-intensive explosive material," including potassium nitrate, aluminium powder, charcoal, and sulphur – used for making country bombs.
Sources said that Afzar Khan was allegedly involved in sourcing the raw materials required to make explosives through e-commerce websites.
Investigators probing the case have written to Amazon and Flipkart asking for details of potassium nitrate and sulphur consignments delivered to addresses in Coimbatore and nearby areas in the last two years, The Hindu reported.
He said Mubin and his close relatives, whose names were given as Azhar and Afzal, tried to mix the chemicals based on tutorials from YouTube. They had no professional training or exposure to make bombs, the media report read.
The Coimbatore Police on 25 October, had invoked sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) to book the accused.
BJP Asks Whether DMK Was Under 'Political Pressure' to Not Monitor Certain Individuals?
Mubin was reportedly questioned by the NIA in 2019 over alleged links to ISIS. He was interrogated in a case regarding alleged links with a man in Kerala who was the suspected ringleader of the Colombo Easter bomb blasts that killed at least 250 people.
K Annamalai, state president of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) posted on Twitter:
"When the TN state intelligence and Coimbatore police were asked to monitor the activities of the ‘suicide bomber’ & now deceased Mubin (after NIA’s Enquiry in 2019) and which the local police were doing initially but stopped after a while. Why was it stopped after DMK came to power? Is it because of political pressure not to monitor ‘certain’ individuals?"
Coimbatore South MLA Vanathi Srinivasan blamed intelligence failure for the car blast. She demanded that MK Stalin visit Coimbatore to create confidence among people over the law and order situation.