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Thursday, June 8, 2023

NIA takes over Elathur train arson case

ADGP M R Ajit Kumar investigating the Elathur train arson attack case said that the suspect, Shahrukh Saifi is a radical fundamentalist. Videos of extremists like Zakir Naik and Isra Ahmed inspired Saifi. He said the terrorist attack on 2 April was executed after careful planning. After pouring petrol, Saifi is accused of setting fire to the D1 Compartment of the Executive Express.

Based on concrete evidence, Saifi was charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). The ADGP said that the investigation team had received the correct information and all the evidence. After committing the crime, Saifi escaped but was arrested from Ratnagiri by the Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS).

In the investigation, it was established that Shahrukh Saifi had committed the crime. All the evidence has been received. Shah Rukh is a very intense person. Shaheen Bagh, the area where Shahrukh hails, has some unique features. The ADGP also stated that the accused had come to Kerala with a precise plan for the attack.

Railway Police first registered this case. Later, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) conducted an extensive investigation and liaised with central investigative agencies from other states. Based on this, the information obtained in the analysis was examined in detail, and UAPA was charged against the accused.

It has been over two weeks since the incident, and Kerala police have not arrested Saifi’s Keralite accomplices. Turning down media reports, the ADGP said that Saifi did not receive help from Palakkad. He added that all the evidence had been collected scientifically.

Asked if anyone else is under surveillance regarding the case, the ADGP replied that such matters cannot be disclosed now.

Saifi was charged with UAPA sections that carry the death penalty. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) took over the investigation. NIA’s Kochi unit is in charge of the inquiry. The Ministry of Home Affairs issued an order in this regard. An FIR will be registered at the NIA headquarters soon.

Earlier, the NIA had also submitted a preliminary report to the central Home Ministry, citing indications of a terrorist link in the violent train burning that killed three and injured several. The Kochi NIA branch had reported to the NIA headquarters in this regard.

There remains widespread criticism that there was no progress in the investigation even though the suspect was in Kerala police custody for ten days. The Kerala SIT could not find out what external help the suspect, a native of Shaheen Bagh, got to reach Elathur in Kozhikode to set fire to the train.

Meanwhile, the investigation team from Kerala, which had reached Delhi, returned. Except for S P Sojan, the other officers went back. Information is also coming out that a person from Delhi has been summoned to Kozhikode for questioning about the terror act. NIA suspects that several others were involved in the conspiracy of the attack.

A court remanded Saifi after his custody period ended, and he will be transferred to Viyyur Central Jail. Several questions remain unanswered, and Keralites hope the NIA investigation will produce concrete results.

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