Police were trying to find out if the photo on his phone was just an attempt to keep cops off his trail, or was it hiding a bigger sinister design. Karnataka police had confirmed that the blast was not accidental but a terrorist act.
Tamil Nadu police were also looking at a possible link between Shariq’s visit and a car explosion in front of Sangameswarar temple in the city on October 23.
City resident Jamesha Mubeen, 29, an alleged ISIS sympathiser, was at the wheel of the car loaded with explosives and two LPG cylinders. It exploded around 4am and killed Mubeen, a mechanical engineer who had hopped several jobs.
“A Coimbatore police team is camping in Mangaluru. Shariq stayed in a dormitory at Gandhipuram (Coimbatore) and he didn’t visit the Adiyogi statue at Vellingiri foothills in Coimbatore district. We are trying to collect more information,” said a police officer.
The dorm did not have CCTV cameras when Shariq stayed there. “He entered fake addresses and fake mobile phone numbers (while checking in),” the officer said, pointing to security gaps.
Shariq, a college dropout, was arrested two years ago for writing graffiti like “Lashkar Zindabad”, but he had jumped bail last year and was on the run since. His name surfaced after a communal clash in Shivamogga in Karnataka on August 15.
But he disappeared soon after and reportedly travelled to Coimbatore in September, stayed there for three days, and then went to Kerala’s Ernakulam, came back to Tamil Nadu again, and returned to Karnataka.
In Ernakulam, district police chief (rural) Vivek Kumar confirmed Shariq’s visit in September. “The accused came and stayed here for four days within Aluva police limits. Then he went back. This happened before the blast,” the district police chief (rural) said on Tuesday.
Police were investigating if he received support from anyone in Kerala and about a package — reportedly containing some beauty products — he received through courier during his stay at a lodge in Ernakulam.