Bengaluru Cafe Blast: NIA Identifies Bomber Mussavir Hussain Seen in CCTV Grabs, as ‘Hat Trick’ Exposes Attacker

Bengaluru Cafe Blast: NIA Identifies Bomber Mussavir Hussain Seen in CCTV Grabs, as 'Hat Trick' Exposes Attacker

CCTV footage captured the suspect entering Rameshwaram Cafe at 11.34 am on Friday, March 1, and exiting 9 minutes later. (Image: X/@mishika_singh@NIA_India)

The NIA has extracted DNA samples from the baseball cap recovered from a place of worship near the cafe. The CCTV grabs of the suspect show him wearing the cap

Almost a month after a blast rocked the popular Rameshwaram Cafe in Bengaluru, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has identified the bomber seen in multiple CCTV grabs. The agency has named Mussavir Shazeeb Hussain as the man who placed the bomb in the waiting area of the eatery on March 1. The agency has also identified Abdul Matheen Taha as a key conspirator. The NIA had named the two Thirthahalli residents in an earlier Al-Hind case charge sheet.

The NIA officials said that both are part of the Shivamogga module of ISIS. Taha is suspected to be the handler in the Mangaluru autorickshaw blast case too. “Both the men (Taha and Hussain) are on the run,” an NIA spokesperson said.

‘Major breakthrough’

The agency on Wednesday arrested Muzammil Shareef for helping Taha and Hussain. Shareef is under the scanner for being in constant touch with Hussain and providing “logistical support”. “In a major breakthrough in the Rameshwaram Café blast case, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday arrested a key conspirator following massive raids across multiple locations in three states,” the agency spokesperson said.

The first arrest in the case came after searches across 18 locations in three states. The NIA raided 12 places in Karnataka, five in Tamil Nadu, and one in Uttar Pradesh this week. Raids were carried out at the houses of all three accused, as well as the residential premises and shops of other suspects. The lodge in Chennai’s Triplicane where Taha allegedly stayed earlier this year was also searched.

Various digital devices and cash were seized during the searches, the NIA said.

Baseball cap blows lid off conspiracy

The NIA has also extracted DNA samples from the baseball cap recovered from a place of worship near the cafe. The CCTV grabs of the suspect show him wearing the cap. Investigators are likely to match the DNA samples with the family members of Shazeeb Hussain to establish the identity of the bomber. The cap has emerged as a key evidence in the case. The probe so far suggests that the limited edition baseball cap was bought at a Chennai mall by Taha.

A close scrutiny of close to 1,000 CCTV grabs led the NIA to Taha’s video caught on a security camera in the RK Salai Mall in Chennai. Technical probe and questioning of the cap shop attendants have provided clues to the NIA. The agency believes that Hussain, Taha, and others stayed in Chennai for at least two months before travelling to Bengaluru and placing the bomb that injured nine.

“Efforts are on to nab the absconding accused and unearth the larger conspiracy behind the blast,” the NIA said.

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