Bengaluru cafe blast mastermind, bomber arrested from Bengal

Wednesday 17th April 2024 08:24 EDT

Bengaluru: The two men who plotted and executed the blast that rocked Rameshwaram Cafe in Bengaluru last month have been arrested from Kanthi in Bengal's East Midnapore district, the National Investigation Agency said. Mussavir Hussain Shazeb and Abdul Matheen Taha were caught after a joint operation by central intelligence agencies and police from Bengal, Karnataka, Telangana, and Kerala, and are en route to Kolkata, the anti-terror agency said in a statement.

The available evidence indicates Shazeb planted the explosive device, placed inside a backpack, at the popular eatery. Taha was responsible for planning the attack and for their disappearance.

These are the second and third arrests in this case; last month Muzammil Shareef, who extended logistical support to the Shazeb and Taha, was taken into custody.

Residents of Karnataka's Shivamogga district, Shazeb and Taha were traced to Kanthi after officials conducted searches at 18 locations across Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and even Uttar Pradesh. The blast at Bengaluru's Rameshwaram Cafe on March 1 injured 10 people, customers and staff.

Fortunately there were no deaths; the bag containing the explosives was placed in a relatively less crowded area and against a large pillar that absorbed the brunt of the explosion.

After the blast, the NIA released photos and videos of the accused, as seen on CCTV cameras across Bengaluru. In one such clip, the accused - wearing a face mask - was seen boarding a bus.

The agency had declared a reward of ₹ 10 lakh for information leading to the arrest of each accused. The agency had also questioned their acquaintances, including college and school friends.

The Rameshwaram Cafe, which suffered extensive damage after the blast, reopened eight days later, with enhanced security measures including metal detectors.

Earlier, the Bengaluru Police had registered a case under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and Explosives Substances Act in connection with the explosion at the cafe.

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