KOCHI: The NIA has made headway in the probe into the activities of homegrown terror outfit, Base Movement, involved in blasts at five court complexes in south India, including two in Kerala.
Investigators have revealed it was Madurai native Samsun Karim Raja, 23, who placed Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) at the Kollam and Malappuram courts last year.
Of the five blasts carried out in Karnataka, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh, Raja placed explosives at three places. The IEDs were prepared by Abbas Ali, the ‘amir’ (spiritual head) of the group.
A top NIA officer from the investigation team told ‘Express’ Raja had placed IEDs at Chittoor, Kollam and Malappuram courts while a certain Dawood Sulaiman planted the explosives at Mysuru and Nellore courts. “Hailing from Madurai, Raja was highly radicalised and was listening to ‘bayans’ (teachings) of Abdul Basith Bukhari and Moulana Shamshudeen Qasmi on why Muslims are ‘being killed’ in Assam, Myanmar and Gujarat,” the officer said.
“He carried out a recce of Kollam court on May 26 last year before placing the IED on June 15. At Malappuram, Raja conducted reconnaissance of the court on September 25 and the explosion was carried out on November 1,” he said.
He also undertook a recce of Chittoor court in Andhra Pradesh on April 4, 2016, before placing explosives on April 7. He carried out a recce of Mysuru court on July 5 before an IED was planted by Sulaiman on August 1. The Malappuram blast was the last operation carried out by the group before they were arrested by the NIA.
Base Movement was founded by Abbas Ali along with Sulaiman on January 26, 2015, at Madurai. Later, they recruited three more members including Raja. For a year, the group confined its activities to sending threat letters to newspapers and jails in Tamil Nadu.
In January last year, the group sent a letter to the French Consulate threatening to carry out an attack on the French President during his visit to India on Republic Day. Since the letter did not make any headway, they decided to conduct minor explosions to avenge the ‘plight’ of Muslims in the country.
“The group first planned a blast at Tirupur court in Tamil Nadu. Later, the plan was dropped as they feared an explosion in their home state would enable the police to track them down easily. So, they decided to conduct blasts at courts in neighbouring states. They also undertook a recce of Palakkad court,” the officer said
Initially, they planned the explosions using urea. But they failed to procure enough material for this purpose. In all the blasts, explosive substances extracted from firecrackers named ‘Hydrogen bomb’ were placed with a timer and an electronic circuit inside pressure cookers.
Abbas Ali learnt bomb making from Abu Bakar Siddique while he was a member of Al Muthaqueem Force (AMF). It was a small group formed to avenge the encounter killing of ISI suspect Imam Ali at Bengaluru. Siddique, Omar Farookh, Mohammad Ali and Mohammad Ali Jinnah were the other members of the outfit. Abbas Ali formed Base Movement after defecting from AMF.
The movement claimed responsibility for the blasts by sending messages to authorities and putting up posts on fake Facebook pages. For this purpose, one of the members travelled to other states.
The third accused Ayub was sent to Malappuram to send messages claiming Base Movement was behind the explosion in Mysuru. After the blast in the Nellore court on September 12, 2016, Raja was sent to Kollam to open a fake page on Facebook and claim responsibility.
The accused persons had procured six SIM cards using a fake identity card in the name of Andony Raja of Kalpakkam. While the blast at Mysuru was carried out to avenge the hanging of Yakub Memon, the one at Nellore was in retaliation against the encounter killing of Burhan Wani.
So far, the NIA has not received any information on Base Movement receiving support from any international terrorist group. “The group was confined to only five members which did not receive any financial or other kind of support from abroad. The group was formed with the objectives of Al Qaeda, but they could not establish any link with the proscribed terror outfit,” the NIA officer said.