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‘Absurd’, says Tamil Nadu Police on Annamalai’s claim that Centre warned about Coimbatore blast

NIA is probing Coimbatore blast. Tamil Nadu BJP chief Annamalai is 'continuously defaming' the force with 'absurd' claim, state police said in statement issued Saturday.

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Coimbatore: Responding to Tamil Nadu BJP chief K. Annamalai’s claim that the Centre issued an alert four days before the car blast in Coimbatore, state police have accused him of “defaming” the force by levelling “false allegations”. In a statement issued Saturday night, state police said Annamalai was “trying to divert the investigation” while claiming that there was a “delay in transferring the case” to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) which began its probe by inspecting the site of the blast Sunday.

A Maruti 800 carrying an LPG cylinder exploded outside a temple in Coimbatore’s Ukkadam area on 23 October, instantly killing engineering graduate Jameesha Mubin who was behind the wheel. 

Terming the blast a “suicide attack”, Annamalai questioned the police probe and asked why the DMK-led state government was caught “napping”.

On Annamalai’s claim that the Centre issued a “specific alert” to Tamil Nadu warning about a possible terror attack, state police termed it as “absurd” and said the alert mentioned by the “former Karnataka police officer” was routine and sent to all states and Union territories. “There is no specific mention of Coimbatore anywhere in the alert. He (Annamalai) is trying to create a false impression that the police did not act on specific information about an incident,” the two-page statement noted. 

Earlier this week, Tamil Nadu Police arrested five people in connection with the blast, booking them under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. A sixth arrest was made Thursday, the same day the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) handed over the probe to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) at the recommendation of the state government.

In case a crime falls under the purview of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act or sections mentioned in the NIA Act, the investigating officer intimates the state government and suggests recommending an NIA probe. “In the Coimbatore LPG cylinder blast case, the procedure was followed thoroughly and without any delay, the state government recommended a probe by the NIA,” the police statement said.

Annamalai wrote on Twitter Saturday evening that he would respond to the police statement with a point-by-point rebuttal. In addition, he alleged that the Director General of Police (DGP) and the Additional Director General of Police (Intelligence) were behaving “like an extension of the @arivalayam (DMK) office”.

“Instead of blaming us for bringing down the morale of the force, they should do a proper soul-searching to see where the failure has happened,” he wrote.

Tamil Nadu Governor R.N. Ravi — claiming there was delay on the part of the state government in handing over the case to the NIA — reportedly said Friday that materials used in the blast included “IED-making chemicals and ingredients” which, according to him, was an indication that the blast was a “terror attack”.

Coimbatore is a “known place” for “hatching (harbouring) terrorists”, Ravi said. He also advised political parties not to soft-pedal on terror-related issues while calling for better coordination between state agencies and the central government.

(Edited by Amrtansh Arora)

Also Read: ‘BJP will stoop to any level, DMK must move forward responsibly,’ says CM Stalin, eyes 2024 polls


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