A convict in the 1998 Coimbatore bomb blast case, who was released following his jail term, has been arrested by the Coimbatore police for an audio conversation in which he allegedly threatens to kill Prime Minister Modi. The audio clip that went viral involves a conversation between Mohammed Rafiq, 53, and another man.
Since his release, he has been involved in several cases and has been under police surveillance, PTI reported. The eight-minute telephonic conversation was between Rafiq and a truck contractor named Prakash.
Though the context of the conversation is yet to be established clearly, it was about a financial dealing involving vehicles owned by Prakash and held by Rafiq. The conversation starts with Prakash asking Rafiq to return his vehicle and the latter demanding 5 lakh for it.
During the conversation, Rafiq reportedly says, “We have already decided that we will kill Modi. Who is bigger than that? We were the ones who planted bombs during(LK) Advani’s visit to Coimbatore in 1998. Not 67, I am someone who has damaged 160 vehicles. In 2014, I have got all (charged under) Goondas Act, National Security Act, Terrorist And Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act etc. We won’t go looking for trouble.”
“You should understand that I’m not scared of anyone.” And with Prakash suggesting that the convict appears not to be scared of Modi either, Rafiq replies, “Yes, we have planned to even kill Modi.”
Rafiq was booked under Indian Penal Code Sections 153 (A) (promoting enmity among different groups on grounds of religion) and 506 (2) (criminal intimidation).
According to a report in The Hindu, the arrest was from the direct orders of the Coimbatore Police Commissioner Periaiah with the Kuniamuthu Sub Inspector Damodaran. The exact date of the conversation in the audio clip was not known. The arrest comes after the clip surfaced on social media.
TOI quotes one investigating official as saying, “Even though he had been doing illegal businesses ever since his release, no complaint was registered against him.”
The 1998 Coimbatore bombings rocked the city on February 14, killing 58 people and injuring over 200 in a series 12 blasts across the city. The Justice PR Gokulakrishnan Commission of Inquiry on the blasts found that Rafiq and two others were to be human bombs but were unable to penetrate the security surrounding LK Advani.
Police say preliminary inquiries revealed that Rafiq’s statements were only a case of bravado to intimidate Prakash and there was no murder conspiracy. “Rafiq told us during investigation that he was only threatening Prakash and there was no conspiracy to kill the PM,” said a police officer from the Special Intelligence Unit. Hence, police have booked him only for criminal intimidation of Prakash.
Rafiq admitted to police that it was his voice and authenticated the audio clip. “He told us that Prakash provoked him to make such statements,” theofficer said.