NIA arrests Bangalore Church Street blast accused

Bengaluru :In a major headway more than a year after the Church Street blast here, the NIA today arrested the prime accused in the case in which a woman was killed and three others were injured.

The National Investigation Agency said he wanted to plant an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) inside the Coconut Grove Bar and Restaurant as per instruction from his handler who had informed him about the probable visit of an Israeli delegation for dinner on December 28, 2014.

“NIA has today arrested one Mohd. Rafeeq alias Jaweed alias Alam Jeb Afridi, S/o Masukar Ahmad, resident of Ahmedabad, for his involvement in the Church Street Blast Case of Bangalore,” the agency said.

A NIA Special Court here had remanded Afridi to 10-day NIA custody for his custodial examination, it said.

A blast was triggered by an IED in front of the popular restaurant located on a busy road in the heart of the city in the night.
NIA said Afridi, a SIMI cadre, was also wanted in a case relating to organisation of a terrorist training camp by Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) at Waghamon in Kerala.

He had been absconding for more than five years and a reward of Rs three lakh had been announced by NIA for any information leading to his arrest, it said in a release.

Afridi had been residing on outskirts of Bengaluru for nearly three years and was working as a air conditioners mechanic, NIA said.
During custody, he has confessed to his involvement in the Church Street blast case of Bengaluru, it said.

The case was initially investigated by the city police and later handed over to the NIA.

The probe did not see any headway under the police even after they claimed to have zeroed in on some terror groups and sketches of suspects being drawn.