KOCHI: It was a tip off to the Kochi office of the NIA that led to the joint operation that the agency undertook along with the Tamil Nadu police to nab the quartet accused in the recent low-intensity bomb blasts in various parts of South India, on Tuesday.
NIA officials said this group had collected explosives, mostly gun powder, which was suspected to have been used in the low intensity blasts in various court complexes at Chittoor in Andhra Pradesh, Mysuru in Karnataka, and Kollam and Malappuram in Kerala.
Official sources said the agency would take over the probe on the Malappuram and Kollam blasts if the role of the group behind those blasts is confirmed. All the cases except the bomb blast in Mysuru court compound are now being probed by the respective state police forces.
"We are still interviewing the accused persons. The group operated claiming they were a part of an Al Qaeda module in South India. But we are looking at whether the group had any connection with Al Qaeda leadership," an official said.
NIA's Kochi unit received the tip-off about the group during a probe in connection with an IS South India module. During the probe, they had received information about a group in Tamil Nadu that was procuring gun powder from Sivakasi. This led the agency to alert police agencies in Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. The team led by SP Rahul Nair and DSP Shoukat Ali coordinated with counterparts in Tamil Nadu.
NIA officials said that the accused are likely to be produced before a Sessions Court in Chennai which has jurisdiction of NIA cases in Tamil Nadu on Tuesday. They are also likely to be taken to a Sessions Court in Bengaluru in connection with the blast at Mysuru court.