The suspect in the mysterious blast in an auto rickshaw case, Shariq, was radicalized by a terror organization, said Karnataka Additional Director General of Police Law and Order Alok Kumar in a press conference in Mangaluru on Monday.
Shariq was "influenced and inspired" by a (terrorist) organisation with global presence, he said.
Shariq's step-mother and sister have identified him, the top cop added.
He was earlier booked in the November 2020 terror graffiti cases in Mangaluru.
In August, Shivamogga police had declared Shariq as a wanted in connection with a case of communal tension in Shivamogga in which two persons were allegedly stabbed over posters of Hindutva ideologue V D Savarkar. In this case, co-accused Maaz and Sayed Yaseen were arrested under UAPA (The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act) 2008) charges while Shariq had escaped from Shivamogga during a raid in September this year.
The ADGP confirmed that the passenger Shariq was carrying a low-intensity bomb in a pressure cooker and it exploded near Naguri in Mangaluru on November 19. It is yet to be known whether he got trained to make bombs or did he learn to make them himself, the top cop said.
The ADGP said that Shariq had visited Coimbatore, Kerala, and also Mysuru where he had rented a room. "We have recovered explosive materials They recovered a number of explosive materials including sulphur, phosphorus, matchboxes, nuts and bolts and circuits, in his room and an Aadhaar card found with him belonged to one Premraj Kutagi, a railway employee." He added that the accused had purchased the materials for blast online and offline.
"Shariq's rented house owner Mohan in Mysuru didn't know anything about Shariq. Shariq had been to Mangaluru a week ago and returned to Mysuru after confirming the spot where they had planned the bomb blast," said the ADGP.
"The accused Shariq had posed in an ISIS style. Arafath, a resident of Theerthahalli, and who is the fourth accused in the terror graffiti case had planned the blast and instructed Shareeq to carry out the blast," the ADGP said. The ADGP added that they had raided Arafath's house in Theerthahalli and found some materials.
"Abdul Matheen Taha is their main handler and the mastermind, and has been absconding since 2019", the top cop said. Meanwhile, a prize money of Rs 5 lakh has been announced to catch Matheen.
Two persons from Mysuru and one person from Coimbatore will be quizzed, the ADGP said.
The accused Shariq, a B.Com graduate, had arrived in Mangaluru via Mysuru, Hunasur, Madikeri, Puttur, and BC Road in a bus. At Naguri bus station, near Mangaluru-Pumpwell Junction, he boarded an auto rickshaw, inside which the blast occurred around 5 pm Saturday. He got into the auto with a pressure cooker fitted with detonator, wires, and batteries, The autorickshaw caught fire after the blast. Though police initially suspected it was a tyre blast or a technical glitch, the evidence at the site of the blast led to further investigation.
The driver Purushottam sustained burn injuries while Shariq suffered 40 per cent burn injuries and is presently admitted at Father Muller Hospital in Mangaluru.
Meanwhile, a probe is on to find out whether Shariq met Jamesha Mubeen, who died in LPG cylinder explosion in Coimbatore on October 23. Shariq had stayed for a few days in Coimbatore in September
Police are also questioning Surendran of Ooty whose Aadhaar details were used by Shariq to purchase a SIM card. Surendran had shared a room with Shariq in a dormitory in Singanallur.