Train arson accused planned attack in Chennai, suspects NIA

The NIA maintains that the arson was carried out with the intention to spread terror among the people and create communal disharmony and clashes in society.

Published: 18th July 2023 07:46 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th July 2023 07:46 AM   |  A+A-

Shahrukh Saifi. (Photo | Express)

Express News Service

KOCHI:  The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is investigating the Elathur train arson case, suspects that the accused, Shahrukh Saifi, was planning a terror strike in Chennai. The suspicion arose after the NIA, during its probe, found that the accused took train tickets twice to Chennai on April 2 from Shoranur before boarding the Executive Express to Kannur.

This was stated in a report filed by the agency before the NIA Court in Kochi, seeking an extension of the deadline for completing the probe from 90 days to 180 days.

“The investigation revealed that the accused took tickets to Chennai on April 2, from Shoranur railway station in the morning as well as in the evening. His links with Chennai have to be ascertained. It has to be investigated whether his final destination was actually Chennai,” the report said.

After the train arson, police found an abandoned bag containing Saifi’s belongings and a bottle containing petrol-like fluid on the track near Elathur railway station on April 3. The bag contained handwritten notes in which words like ‘Kufar’ (non-believers) were written in Hindi. There were also notes about places in Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

As part of the probe, two Motorola mobile phones were seized from Saifi. NIA scrutinised the Internet Protocol Detail Record (IPDR) of those phones.

“The scrutiny of the IPDR of the mobile numbers shows that he had accessed some domains in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. The details of said domains are to be verified in detail, The investigation is to be conducted further to identify the content of domains accessed by the accused, which is also time-consuming,” said the report.

According to the NIA, the IPDR analysis revealed Saifi had extensively used many secret social media platforms besides using VPNs on his mobile phones. NIA has sent requests to service providers of such applications for the details. 

Saifi boarded train no. 12218 Sampark Kranti Express on March 31 from New Delhi to reach Shoranur on April 2. NIA has seized CCTV footage from New Delhi, Nizamudeen, Kota, Vadodara, Panvel, Vasai Road, and 17 other stations under the Konkan Railway Corporation, including Mangaluru Junction, Thrissur, Kannur, Tirur, and Shornur Junction, to track the movements of the accused. 

NIA is also checking whether he met any others during his journey. The NIA maintains that the arson was carried out with the intention to spread terror among the people and create communal disharmony and clashes in society.

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