Passenger in auto-rickshaw was carrying cooker with explosives, had stolen Aadhar Card to fake identity

On Saturday, November 19, an auto-rickshaw exploded in Mangaluru, Karnataka’s coastal town, under mysterious circumstances. Now it has been reported that the passenger in the auto-rickshaw was carrying a pressure cooker, and police have found that there was an improvised explosive device (IED) inside the cooker which exploded.

The passenger was also carrying a stolen Aadhar card of a 24-year-old Hindu person named Premraj, who is a resident of Hubballi. As per a News18 report, police sources said that the suspect is from Shivamogga and for the last few months was also on the radar of the police. The suspect was reportedly planning a similar attack two months ago in Shivamogga, however, could not succeed as the plan was busted by the police.

The owner of the house where the suspect rented a room has also confirmed his identity, according to intelligence agencies.

M Mohan Kumar, the house owner from Mysuru, stated that the suspect was paying Rs 1,800 per month for a single room. Kumar produced a copy of the rental agreement, which listed the suspect’s name as Premraj, S/o Sri Maruthi, with a Hubballi address.

Explosives, circuit boards, sulfuric acid, other chemicals, small bolts, batteries, mobile displays, wooden powder, aluminum foil, multimeter, wires, mixer jars, pressure cooker and whistles, and other items were discovered in the room by intelligence agencies.

A mobile phone, two fake Aadhaar cards, one PAN card, one debit card, an unused SIM card, and a notebook with circuit drawings have also been recovered.

Meanwhile, a team of NIA officials from Bengaluru arrived on the scene to investigate the incident. A bomb disposal squad and a dog squad have also arrived at the explosion site, and an auto-rickshaw has been brought there as part of the investigation.

Speaking about the incident, Karnataka Home Minister said, “The passenger injured in the auto blast in Mangalore yesterday is being treated in a hospital and is currently unable to speak. However, the police investigation has found that this is the work of an anti-national terrorist organization. The Central Intelligence Agency has also arrived in Karnataka to conduct an investigation. Along with them, the Karnataka Police will conduct an investigation.”

On Sunday, November 20, the Karnataka Director General of Police (DGP) took to Twitter to announce that the explosion was not an accident but an ‘act of terror.’

“It’s confirmed now,” said the Director General of Police (DGP) in a tweet, “The blast is not accidental but an act of terror with the intention to cause serious damage. Karnataka State Police is probing deep into it along with central agencies.”

In another tweet, the DGP confirmed that Premraj, the person whose Aadhar Card has been recovered from the suspect, is a victim of identity theft and has no involvement in the case.

“Mangalore blast case; Premraj is a victim of identity theft. It’s confirmed. He has nothing to do with this incident,” the Karnataka DGP tweeted.

It should be noted that the findings, in this case, are similar to those in the Coimbatore blast case, where an LPG cylinder exploded inside a car. A 25-year-old man died on October 23 in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, after an LPG cylinder in a vehicle exploded in the communally sensitive Kottaimedu region. Following the incident, Tamil Nadu Bharatiya Janata Party president K Annamalai asserted that it was not an accident, but rather a planned terror attack with ties to the Islamic State.