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Jailed Lashkar terrorist Afsar Pasha masterminded Mangaluru blast: Police

July 30, 2023 23:00 IST

Investigators have found that jailed Lashkar-e-Tayiba operative Afsar Pasha masterminded the Mangaluru bomb blast that occurred in November last year and he provided training in making cooker bombs to the accused in the case, a police official said on Sunday.

IMAGE: Mangaluru blast accused Mohammed Shariq. Photograph: ANI Photo

Pasha, who had earlier received training in making bombs in Bangladesh, provided training to the Mangaluru blast case accused during their stay in a jail in Karnataka, he said.


The probe also revealed that the now-banned outfit Popular Front of India had earlier transferred Rs 5 lakh to Pasha's bank account, he said, adding that a "comprehensive report" has been prepared by the police based on the information given by Pasha, and it has been shared with the country's intelligence agencies.

Pasha is currently lodged in the Nagpur Central Jail after he was brought to the city earlier this month from a jail in neighbouring Karnataka in connection with a probe in threat calls made to Union Minister Nitin Gadkari allegedly by gangster Jayesh Pujari, the police said.

"During the ongoing probe being conducted by the National Investigation Agency and the police, it came to light that Pasha was the mastermind of the Mangaluru bomb blast case," the police official said.

"Pasha's involvement in training the Mangaluru blast case accused, Mohammed Shariq, in manufacturing cooker bombs came to light during the probe," he said.

The blast occurred in an autorickshaw in Mangaluru on November 19 last year. Shariq, the accused in the case who hailed from Shivamogga in Karnataka, was in the autorickshaw with a pressure cooker fitted with detonator, wires and batteries when it went off.

The police had said that blast was "not accidental" but an "act of terror" with intention to cause serious damage.

Pasha was earlier convicted in a 2012 case of recruiting terrorists for Lashkar-e-Tayiba in Jammu and Kashmir. He was allegedly also involved in the December 2005 terror attack at the Indian Institute of Science in Bengaluru.

Pasha, who was lodged in the Hindalga jail in Karnataka's Belagavi in the Bengaluru blast case, was brought to Nagpur on July 14 in the Gadkari threat calls case.

He is currently jailed in Nagpur.

"Pasha had returned to India after receiving training in making bombs in Dhaka several years ago. He was previously involved in a blast in Bengaluru. Despite this, his role in the Mangaluru blast was overlooked during earlier investigations," the police official said.

"It has come to light that Pasha and Jayesh Pujari alias Kantha alias Shahir, were propagating Islamic fanaticism in the Hindalga prison at Belagavi during their incarceration there," he said.

The accused were influencing the jail inmates. Pasha provided training to Shariq on making cooker bombs, a method used in the Mangaluru blast case, the police official said.

The investigation also revealed that the now-banned outfit Popular Front of India had transferred Rs 5 lakh to Pasha's bank account several months ago, he said, adding that the funds originated from the account of a person identified as Abdul Jalil, highlighting potential links between PFI and terror activities.

The funds were purportedly used to provide various facilities to those involved in anti-national activities. Smartphones were also reportedly made available to the accused within the prison walls, the police official said.

In September last year, the central government banned PFI for five years over its alleged links to terror funding and radicalisation activities.

"The police have now prepared a comprehensive report based on the information received from Pasha. The report has been shared with the state director general of police, ACS home, Anti-Terrorism Squad, NIA, and Intelligence Bureau for further investigation," the police official said.

Jayesh Pujari had made threat calls to Nitin Gadkari's office after planning it with Pasha, the police said.

Pujari had made a threat call to Gadkari's public relations office on January 14, demanding Rs 100 crore and claiming to be a member of the Dawood Ibrahim gang. At that time, he was lodged in the Belagavi jail, they said.

He made another call on March 21, threatening to harm Gadkari if Rs 10 crore were not paid to him.

Pujari was arrested and brought to Nagpur on March 28 this year from the jail in Belagavi, and two cases were registered under provision of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in Nagpur.

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