Coimbatore Blasts
Rasheed had absconded to Qatar for 20 years before returning to India recently.
Image for representation

A key accused of the 1998-Coimbatore blasts has been arrested by the CB-CID Special Investigation Division on Monday.

NP Noohu alias Rasheed alias Mankavu Rasheed from Kozhikode, Kerala was nabbed by a special team of the CB-CID on Monday evening. He was one of the key accused in the serial blasts that rocked Coimbatore in February 1998 and has been absconding since.

On February 14, 1998, 12 bomb blasts occurred in the city killing around 50 people and injuring 200. 177 accused were arrested in relation to the case and the police were on the look out for many others. SA Basha, the Chief of fundamentalist outfit Al Ummah, allegedly the mastermind behind the blasts was convicted to life with 12 others.

A report by Justice PR Gokulakrishnan probing the incident stated that the blasts were executed to avenge the deaths of 18 muslims, who were killed in the Hindu-Muslim riots that happened in Coimbatore in November 1997.

A press statement from the CB-CID said that Rasheed was hiding in Qatar for 20 years and reached his hometown Kozhikode recently. From there he came to Chennai on Monday, where he was apprehended by a special team headed by Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Gowthaman.

Cases are pending on Rasheed under sections 120(B) (Criminal conspiracy) , 302 (Murder), 307 (Attempt to Murder), 449 (House-trespass in order to commit offence punishable with death), 465 (Punishment for forgery), 468 (Forgery for purpose of Cheating), 471 (Using forged document as genuine one), 212 (harbouring offender), 153(A)(1) (by words, either spoken or written, or by signs or by visible representations or otherwise, promotes or attempts to promote, on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, caste or community or any other ground whatsoever, disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different reli­gious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communi­ties), 148 (Rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (Every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed in prosecution of common object), 201 (Causing disappearance of evidence of offence, or giving false information to screen offender), 109 (Punishment of abetment if the act abetted is committed in consequence and where no express provision is made for its punishment), 114 (Abettor present when offence is committed), 353 (Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) of the Indian Penal Code, and various sections of the Explosive Substances Act, Arms Act and Tamil Nadu Property Prevention of Damage and Loss Act.

Rasheed has been remanded to judicial custody till September 24.