Lanka blasts: NIA sleuths intensify investigation in Tamilnadu

NIA officials raided the offices of PFI and SDPI in Trichy and Kumbakonam today.

Chennai / Trichy: Sleuths from the National Investigating Agency (NIA) are conducting inquiries across Tamilnadu following terror blasts in Sri Lanka.

This morning, NIA carried out intense searches across the State after reports emerged indicating the presence of terrorists in these parts.

The searches and inquires took place at multiple districts, apart from Chennai, sources said. “The investigations are in connection with the Easter Sunday terror attacks in Sri Lanka which claimed the lives of 253 people,” they added.

According to police sources, the ‘Q’ branch police tracked down a man at Mannadi in Chennai who was suspected to have been in touch with the now banned National Thowheeth Jama’ath- a Sri Lanka based jihadist group.

On inquiring him, the police received a vital information and searched an apartment at Poonamallee and arrested a Sri Lankan national, who has been identified as Roshan (33).

A special team of Intelligence Bureau and officials from the NIA, raided the apartment located on the Chennai-Bengaluru National Highway in Poonamallee. Three men, three women and a child were found residing there.

During questioning, it was found that the men (including Roshan) were allegedly friends with Hashim, a radical Tamil-speaking cleric who has been identified as the mastermind of the Easter Sunday Sri Lanka blasts, through Facebook, reports said.

It was found that Roshan did not have proper travel documents, like passport and visa, and had entered India several months ago. He was reportedly staying with some other Sri Lankan nationals who had valid papers.

NIA is also carrying out investigations in Kerala after intelligence reports of terror strikes. Few days ago, it arrested Riyas Aboobacker, a resident of Palakkad in Kerala, on charges of conspiring to carry out terror attacks in the State. During interrogation, Riyas told the agency that he had been following Hashim for over a year and has also followed the speeches of Zakir Naik, an absconding Indian Islamic preacher and founder of the Islamic Research Foundation. He was remanded to 30 days custody by the NIA court in Kochi.

From the South, unconfirmed reports claim that a group of 21, including six women left for Syria and Afghanistan to join the ISIS. Fifteen of them are allegedly from Kasargod district in Kerala.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) today carried out searches in the offices of Popular Front of India (PFI) and Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) in Tiruchirapalli and Kumbakonam relating to the sensational murder of a PMK party functionary for opposing religious conversion.
The NIA sleuths from Cochin, led by Deputy Superintendent of Police A P Shaukat Ali, raided the office of PFI at Palakkarai in Tiruchirapalli and the SDPI office at Kumbakonam in neighbouring Thanjavur district, this morning.

Police made tight security arrangements around the PFI and SDPI offices in view of the searches which were underway at both locations.

The office-bearers of the two outfits were being questioned by the NIA officials. The PMK functionary V Ramalingam (45) was hacked to death on 5 February last allegedly by a group belonging to the Muslim community after the victim questioned them for attempting to convert Dalit people into Islam.