A man who was allegedly conspiring to commit a terrorist attack in Kerala, reportedly inspired by the alleged mastermind of the Sri Lanka bombings, has been arrested by the National Investigation Agency or NIA. The suspect, Riyas A, who also goes by Riyas Aboobacker and Abu Dujana, will be produced before a court in Kochi on Tuesday.
The accused, 29, has reportedly confessed to have been inspired by Zahran Hashim, the alleged mastermind behind last Sunday's suicide bombings in Sri Lanka in which at least 250 died. "He had been following speeches and videos of Hashim and Zakir Naik for last one year," a senior NIA officer said.
According to the officer, more alarming was Riyas A's disclosure on how he was planning to carry out a suicide attack in Kerala.
Hashim Zahran is the leader of National Thowheed Jamaath, which is believed to have executed the highly coordinated blasts in Sri Lanka on April 21.
Riyas, during his interrogation, also admitted that he had been in contact with missing accused Abdul Rashid Abdulla for a long time and had been following his audio clips, including the one which he had circulated on the social media platforms instigating others to carry out terror attacks in India.
He also disclosed that he was also in contact with Abdul Khayoom, an accused in Valapattanam ISIS case. Khayoom was believed to be in Syria.
Riyas also claimed that he tried to convince other members of the module to follow Hashim. "The suspect is well versed with Tamil and followed Hashim's speeches and videos. He tried to rope in others but could not convince as they didn't know Tamil", an official said, adding that they are interrogating Riyas to determine his targets in Kerala.
On Sunday, the NIA conducted searches at the houses of three suspects (two in Kasaragod and one in Palakkad district), who allegedly have links with the accused who left India to join terror organisation ISIS in 2016.
The agency had earlier received inputs that a group of four persons has been in contact with some of the accused - Abdul Rashid, Ashfaq Majeed, Abdul Khayoom - who had already migrated to Afghanistan and Syria.
After verification, the NIA carried out searches at three places (two in Kasaragod and one in Palakkad District) yesterday and interrogated three men for their alleged links with ISIS and their plans.
The case was filed in July 2016 following the disappearance of 15 men from Kasargod.