New Delhi: A two-member NIA team headed by an Inspector General has left for Colombo to coordinate with the Sri Lankan authorities in the investigation into the Easter terrorist attacks which killed over 250 people, top NIA sources confirmed to CNN-News18.
"We have our own FIR against ISIS modules. The visit is not to assist Sri Lanka with their probe but to see if an exchange of information and evidence gathered by us and them can be mutually beneficial," said a top NIA official.
Sources said while the NIA team will see if Sri Lankan agencies have any information to help NIA in its investigation, it will also share with them the evidence found in the ISIS Kerala and Coimbatore Module cases. Twenty one people from Kerala, including women and children, had moved to Afghanistan to join the ISIS. Probe revealed that members of this group, led by one Ashfaq Majeed, had gone to Sri Lanka's Jaffna before they sneaked into Afghanistan.
In the Coimbatore case, the NIA stumbled upon crucial evidence to show that prime accused of the Sri Lankan bombing case Zahran Hashim had plans of targeting churches in Lanka. The NIA chargesheeted Mohamed Ashiq A, Ismail S, Samsudeen, Mohammed Salauddin S, Jafar Shadik Ali and Shahul Hameed in the Coimbatore case of 2018. Based on the interrogation of these suspects, India had warned Sri Lanka of possible terror attacks during Easter.
Riyas A alias Riyas Aboobacker, a resident of Kerala, was arrested by the NIA. The investigation revealed links with Zahran Hashim and plans to carry out a Lanka style suicide attacks in Kerala.
Top officials said that the visit by the NIA team to Sri Lanka will be beneficial since the ISIS modules are now working across borders. Further, the Kerala coast has been put on high alert after intelligence bureau reports warned that a team of 15 ISIS terrorists could be taking the sea route from Sri Lanka to target Indian coastlines in Kerala or Lakshadweep.