NIA questions Bareilly preacher in Bengaluru cafe blast case

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NIA questions Bareilly preacher in Bengaluru cafe blast case
Lucknow: The Lucknow unit of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) raided the house of a preacher in Uttar Pradesh’s Bareilly district and questioned him for several hours after picking him up in connection with the blast at Rameshwaram Cafe in Bengaluru on March 1, senior police officials said.

The officials added that the preacher came on the NIA radar as his mobile phone location was found in Karnataka on the day of the blast.

They said the NIA team had been camping in Bareilly and raided the preacher’s house in Dhaura Tanda town under the Bhojipura police station limits after tracing his mobile phone location.

They added that the preacher was not found at his house and was later picked up from a place of worship and taken to the Bhojipura police station in Bareilly.

A senior police official said the NIA team questioned the suspect for around five hours at the police station. The local police were kept away from the entire process.

He added that the NIA team left after questioning the suspect, issuing instructions that he should not leave the city without informing the police.

He said the local police have been asked to keep a vigil on the suspect and inform the NIA if he ventures outside Bareilly.

The NIA team also asked the suspect the reason for his presence in Karnataka on the day of the blast and why he moved to Bareilly afterwards.

The official added that the suspect was said to be preaching at a Karnataka centre, following which he stayed there for some months and returned to Bareilly after completing his work.

The NIA team obtained contact numbers from the preacher’s mobile phone book and was likely to check the credentials of all the persons who were in touch with the suspect.

The official said the agency could initiate action against the suspect if his involvement surfaced in the investigation.

The investigation agency suspected Al-Hind Islamic State module was behind the blast and apprehended that it was linked with the Mangaluru cooker blast of November 2022 due to a similarity in the timer and detonator devices in the IEDs used in the Rameshwaram Cafe and the cooker blasts.


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