Rameshwaram Cafe Blasts mastermind hiding in Bengal with 'Sanjay Agarwal & Uday Das' names
Rameshwaram Cafe Blasts mastermind hiding in Bengal with 'Sanjay Agarwal & Uday Das' names

Kolkata: After a 42-day investigation into the Rameshwaram Cafe blast case, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) apprehended two suspects, Mussavir Hussain Shazib and Abdul Matheen Taaha, from West Bengal on Friday.

According to sources familiar with the matter, this development marks a significant breakthrough for intelligence agencies and the NIA. The suspects meticulously evaded detection during their 42-day movement, opting to stay in guesthouses and private lodges where identity verification is less stringent.

A court subsequently granted the NIA a three-day transit remand for the two individuals.

Both Shazib and Taaha hail from Thirthahalli in Karnataka's Shivamogga district. Shazib is believed to have planted the Improvised Explosive Device (IED) at the cafe, while Taaha is suspected of orchestrating the planning and execution of the blast.

New CCTV footage emerged a day after the arrests, showing the two suspects checking into a guest house located in Kolkata's Ekbalpur area. They stayed at the guest house for three days, presenting themselves as tourists from Karnataka and Maharashtra.

Ashraf Ali, the hotel receptionist, recalled their visit, stating that they arrived on March 25, displayed their identity cards, and stayed until March 28. He mentioned that they paid in cash for a single room and communicated with each other in their regional language.

Taaha, identified as the mastermind behind the Bengaluru cafe blast, reportedly used Hindu names as aliases for accommodation purposes. Prior to their arrest, both suspects frequently changed their lodging locations across Bengal.

Shazib utilized a fake Aadhaar card under the name Yusha Shahnawaz Patel, while Taaha adopted aliases such as Vignesh BD and Anmol Kulkarni at various hotels. At one point, they assumed the identities of Sanjay Agarwal and Uday Das from Jharkhand and Tripura, respectively.

Investigators suspect that Taaha leveraged cryptocurrency to fund the operation. During their apprehension, electronic devices and approximately 70 items were confiscated from the suspects.

There are reports linking Shazib, Taaha, and another individual named Shareef to ISIS-affiliated modules. They are purportedly connected to previous incidents, including the Shivamogga graffiti case and the Mangaluru cooker blast in November 2023.

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