The mother of Abdul Mateen Taha, a suspect in the Mangaluru blast case, on Tuesday claimed she had not been in touch with her son since he went missing from Bengaluru three years ago.
Claiming that she hadn't seen her son in three years, Taha's mother told ANI, "My son has been missing for the last three years. I don't know where he is. He was studying engineering in Bengaluru. He completed his 3-year engineering course and left after attaining his degree. He worked in a private company in Bengaluru for sometime," she said.
Went missing from Bengaluru
She added that her son went missing from Bengaluru and has still not been traced. "I have not been in touch with him since he went missing." She added that she wants her son to be punished if she has done any wrong.
"If he has done something wrong, let him be punished. My son is 29 years old and my eldest. He has a brother and a sister. Mateen had a lot of love for everyone in the family. I have no clue why he did this. We are still in tears over him. We have not been able to recover from the shock of his disappearance," she said.
Taha's name came up during the ongoing investigation into the November 19 incident in which an explosive device went off in an auto-rickshaw, leaving the driver and a passenger injured.
The driver, Purshottam, and the passenger, identified by the Karnataka Police on November 20 as the 24-year-old bomber Mohammed Shariq, sustained burns as the three-wheeler caught fire after the blast. They were rescued by locals.
Police: 'Explosion was not an accident but an act of terror..'
The Karnataka Police later issued a statement on the incident, saying the explosion was not an 'accident' but an "act of terror with the intention to cause serious damage".
The state's Director General of Police Praveen Sood said the 'mysterious blast' was a terrorist incident and a "deep probe" into the incident was underway.
"It's confirmed now. 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," Sood had tweeted.
The state police had further informed that the bomber, from Karnataka's Thirthahalli. had links with the Islamic State (IS) and has been on the run since September, this year.
The bomber had suffered nearly 40 per cent burns in the explosion, the police informed.
A bomb disposal squad and a dog squad were rushed to the blast site after the incident and a team of NIA officers also visited the scene.
Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai had said the suspect has terror links and had travelled to various places, including Coimbatore, in neighbouring Tamil Nadu, where an explosive-laden car blew up on October 23, this year.
"Prima facie, this is a terror act. The places he had travelled to, such as Coimbatore and other places, clearly point to his terror links," the Karnataka CM had said.
Mangaluru autorickshaw blast and the Coimbatore incident
State Health Minister K Sudhakar on Monday drew a parallel between the Mangaluru autorickshaw blast and the Coimbatore incident.
"A couple of months ago, a similar incident occurred in Coimbatore. This person, Md Shariq, visited Coimbatore and met a person there. The police have traced his movements over the last two months," Sudhakar told ANI, adding that Shariq could have been planning a blast around the Durga Parameshwari Temple in Mangaluru.
Terming the incident as a "dastardly act of terror and violence", the minister assured that the administration will nab all the culprits involved in the case.
"The accused (in the Mangaluru blast) was travelling in an auto-rickshaw, posing to be a Hindu and carrying a fake Aadhar card. Police have identified him as Mohammad Shariq from Shivamogga. He was wanted by the police," the health minister had said.