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NIA raids 17 locations across 7 states in Bengaluru prison radicalisation probe

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Tuesday carried out raids at 17 locations in seven states in connection with its probe into the Bengaluru prison radicalisation case, people familiar with the development said.

NIA headquarters at CGO Complex in New Delhi. (Vipin Kumar/HT Photo)

T Naseer, a life imprisonment convict and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) terrorist, has allegedly radicalised several individuals inside the Bengaluru central prison, instigating them to carry out terror attacks in the country.

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The Bengaluru City Police had originally registered the case following the seizure of arms and ammunition, including 7 Pistols, 4 hand grenades, one magazine and 45 live rounds, along with 4 walkie-talkies in July 2023.

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NIA took over the probe on 25 October 2023 and had carried out some raids in the case on 13 December 2023.

It is not clear if NIA’s raids on Tuesday in the case has any connection with Friday’s blast at a popular cafe in Bengaluru, but people familiar with the developments said they will definitely look into the suspected links. The agency on Monday took over the probe into the Rameshwaram cafe blast.

In the Bengaluru prison radicalisation case, the federal agency has already charge-sheeted eight persons, including Naseer and two absconders.

Naseer, who hails from Kerala’s Kannur, is serving a life sentence since 2013, while Junaid Ahmed and Salman Khan, who are suspected to have fled abroad, were radicalised by him while in the prison.

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The others who are suspected to have come in touch with Naseer include Syed Suhail Khan, Mohammed Umar, Zahid Tabrez, Syed Mudassir Pasha and Mohammed Faisal Rabbani. These five people have also been charge-sheeted by the agency under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Explosives Substances Act and Arms Act.

“Naseer had managed to get them all shifted to his barracks after a careful assessment of their potential with a view to radicalise and recruit them into the LeT. He first managed to radicalise and recruit Junaid and Salman to further the activities of the LeT; thereafter, he conspired with Junaid to radicalise and recruit the other accused,” NIA said in a statement in January.

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Junaid, following his release from prison, was believed to have fled abroad after committing some more offences.

“As per the NIA investigations, he began sending funds to his co-accused from abroad to promote LeT activities within and outside the prison. He also conspired with Salman to deliver arms, ammunition, hand grenades and walkie talkies to the others, as part of a plot to carry out a ‘fidayeen’ attack and help Naseer escape from Police custody en route to court. Junaid also instructed his co-accused to steal used police caps for the attack and to commit arson on government buses as a practice run. The plot was foiled with the seizure of the arms etc in July last year,” the agency said.

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