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Tamil Nadu Car Blast: BJP, DMK Caught In A War Of Words As NIA Takes Over Probe

A war of words erupted over the blast and seizure of explosives between the DMK regime and BJP, with Electricity Minister Senthil Balaji accusing the Saffron party of trying to magnify the issue to derive political mileage in the 2024 Lok Sabha election.

National Investigation Agency assumes charge for Coimbatore blast case
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The Centre on Thursday decided to hand over to the NIA the probe into the recent blast near a temple in Coimbatore and one more man was arrested in the case, officials said.

BJP, DMK in a war of words

While the DMK regime accused the BJP of trying to blow the explosion incident out of proportion, the Saffron party said Central intelligence forewarned the state and asked why the Tamil Nadu government was "caught napping." 
         
An official said in Delhi that the Union home ministry has decided to hand over the Coimbatore blast case to the National Investigation Agency. To this end, TN Director General of Police, C Sylendra Babu told reporters in Coimbatore that evidence related to the case would be handed over soon to the NIA.

The Centre's move follows Chief Minister M K Stalin's recommendation for an investigation by the NIA into the Deepavali eve blast. 

Retaliatory accusations

A war of words erupted over the blast and seizure of explosives--suspected to be a sabotage attempt that failed-- between the DMK regime and BJP, with Electricity Minister Senthil Balaji accusing the Saffron party of trying to magnify the issue to derive political mileage in the 2024 Lok Sabha election.

BJP Tamil Nadu unit president K Annamalai claimed on his Twitter handle: "There was a specific threat alert given by central intelligence agencies to TN Govt on Oct 18th, 2022. This is five days before the ‘suicide bombing’ incident. Why was the state govt caught napping?

When the TN state intelligence and Coimbatore police were asked to monitor Mubeen's activities, it was done initially but was stopped after a while, Annamalai alleged. "Why was it stopped after DMK came to power? Is it because of political pressure not to monitor ‘certain’ individuals? Will our CM care to answer, or as usual, will he be in 'silent mode.' 

The Tamil Nadu Minister, speaking to reporters, wondered how Annamalai gave "details" of the incident even before the police could and said that the BJP leader should be interrogated by the NIA. "Is he involved and knew about the incident," he asked.

By announcing a bandh on October 31, the BJP was trying to create tension and fear among the people only to take political advantage in the 2024 Parliamentary election, Balaji alleged. He said there was no bomb inside the car and the explosion was due to a cylinder blast. Nails and marbles were strewn separately and cylinders were kept separately which indicated that there was no bomb in the car. Left parties blamed the "failure of Central intelligence," for the explosion.

Arrests under UAPA, foreign links suspected

Police said it has arrested one more man, Afsar Khan, a Coimbatore resident who had helped Jameesha Mubeen, his relative, in the purchase of a large quantity of explosive materials from e-commerce platforms. Khan is the sixth man to be arrested and a team of NIA officials are in the southern state in connection with the case. 

Sylendra Babu and top police officials held a discussion with the NIA sleuths and assured them of full support in their investigation. Explosives were seized in Coimbatore from the residence of 29-year-old Mubeen who was killed after a gas cylinder stored in a car driven by him exploded. 

The explosion occurred while Mubeen was moving past a temple in a car in Tamil Nadu's western textile city and he had tried to evade a police check post. One more gas cylinder, also stored in the car, did not explode. 

The Tamil Nadu government said the decision to recommend the probe handover to the central anti-terror agency was considering possibility of factors extraneous to the state and chances of international links.

Five men, already arrested in the case, face charges under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Mubeen was under the NIA radar in 2019 in the aftermath of the Easter bomb blasts in Sri Lanka, but no case was filed against him, police said.

(With inputs from PTI)

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