Bengaluru’s Church Street Blast: Prime Accused Arrested


Bengaluru: Prime accused in Bengaluru’s Church Street Blast case Mohammad Rafeeq, alias Jaweed, alias Alam Jeb Afridi, a resident of Ahmedabad, who was carrying a reward of Rs. 3 lakhs on his head, was on Friday arrested by the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

According to an NIA statement, he was arrested from the outskirts of Bengaluru, where he was living for nearly three years and was working as a mechanic for air conditioners. He had been absconding for more than five years. During search of his residence is Bengaluru, the investigators seized a lot of anti-semitic hate literature.

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Afridi has been remanded to the NIA custody for 10 days by an NIA Special Court here. NIA claimed that the accused had confessed to his involvement in the Church Street Blast that occurred at about 20:30 hours on December 28, 2014 in front of Coconut Grove Bar and Restaurant, claiming one life.

Afridi, a SIMI cadre, is also an absconding accused in a case relating to the organisation of a terrorist training camp by the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) at Waghamon in Kerala. According to the NIA statement, Afridi is also suspected to be involved in the Ahmedabad blast cases of 2008, and is considered to be a close associate of several top SIMI leaders, who are absconding. He has purportedly admitted his role in committing incident of arson at the Israeli Visa Centre in Bengaluru and in setting fire to Israeli Visa Centre in Bengaluru in November 2015.

It is learnt, said NIA, he wanted to plant a bomb inside the Coconut Grove Bar and Restaurant, but was deterred by the presence of staff, and therefore, he planted it outside near the wall. He had done so as per his handler who had informed him about the probable visit of an Israeli delegation to the said cafe for dinner that night, said NIA.

“In preliminary examination, he had disclosed that his handler had taught him the technique of making the bomb for which he procured the material locally,” said NIA, adding that the kind of IED used in the blast is similar to the ones used in Gandhi Maidan blasts of Patna in October, 2013; Bengaluru Guwahati Express Train blast in Chennai in May, 2014; and Roorkee blast of December 2014.

The forensic examination of the IED used in Bengaluru had revealed the use of Ammonium nitrate, Sulphur and Potassium Chlorate in the explosive mixture used in preparation of IED, packed in an iron pipe.