A Coimbatore-based automobile financier, who was convicted in the 1998 Coimbatore blast and served jail term, was arrested on Monday night on the basis of a leaked telephone conversation in which he was heard allegedly telling a customer that he had plans to kill Prime Minister Narendra Modi, apparently in a bid to intimidate the customer.
After interrogating accused Mohamed Rafiq, 53, the police said it was bluster, probably to get money from the customer, who identified himself as a native of Salem, Tamil Nadu.
The police did not officially disclose the name of the Salem man. The conversation is old, and the police filed a suo motu case after an officer got link of the audio tape on WhatsApp on Monday.
Coimbatore city police commissioner K Periaiah told The Indian Express on Tuesday, “Rafiq was talking to the Salem man about a business transaction. As the other person was talking about a vehicle, Rafiq made loose talk to prove that he was capable of doing anything — he boasted of cases he had faced, jail term he had done….and even about PM Modi. His interrogation and investigation indicate it was only bluster.”
Periaiah said Rafiq has confessed that he did not mean what he had said in the phone conversation.
The nearly nine-minute audio clip, featuring an argument over payment, has an agitated Rafiq, who appeared to have been challenged by the person at the other end, saying that he was not afraid of anyone. In reply, the other person brought up the name of Modi and asked whether he was not afraid of even the Prime Minister. Rafiq replied, “Yes, we have planned to kill even Modi.”
Apparently instigated by the other man, Rafiq then apparently said that “we have planted bombs against Advani” as well, and that he had damaged 160 vehicles, been booked under Goonda Act, National Security Act. TADA, and served time in “almost all jails in Tamil Nadu”.
Rafiq was booked under IPC Sections 153 (A) (promoting enmity on grounds of religion) and 506 (ii) (criminal intimidation). A judicial magistrate on Tuesday remanded him in judicial custody until May 7.
A senior officer probing the case said Rafiq was released in 2007 after serving jail term in the Coimbatore blast case. There was another case against him in connection with a blast at the RSS headquarters, in which he was acquitted in 1993.