The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday conducted raids at 30 locations in Bengaluru in connection with last month’s riots and arrested a bank recovery agent, Sayed Saddiq Ali, who is allegedly the key conspirator of the violence.
Ali (44), NIA said in a statement, was involved in the attack on KG Halli police station on August 11, resulting in heavy damage and destruction of public and government property. He was absconding since the day of the incident.
During the raids, NIA teams recovered airguns, pellets, sharp weapons, iron rods, digital devices, DVRs and incriminating documents related to Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) and Popular Front of India (PFI).
The central anti-terror probe agency took over the probe from the state police on September 23.
The riots had broken out on the night of August 11 over a derogatory social media remark by one Naveen, identified as the nephew of Srinivas Akhanda Murthy, the sitting Congress MLA from Pulakeshi Nagar of Bengaluru.
The remark insulted the religious sentiments of Muslims, the NIA said in a statement.
“The state secretary, SDPI, Muzamil Pasha and other members of Social Democratic Party of India /Popular Front of India gathered a mob at the houses of Naveen, Akhanda Srinivas Murthy and at the premises of DJ Halli and KG Halli police stations, who vandalised the premises and resorted to arson, creating fear and panic among the masses,” the NIA further stated.
More than 300 people, including some SDPI members, have been arrested in connection with the arson and violence in the city that night. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) blamed the SDPI, a political outfit of Popular Front of India, for the riots and demanded a ban on the organisation. The SDPI has, however, rejected the charges as “baseless”.