Chennai, Jul 28: The arrest of a Jihad Committee Member at Southern Tirunelveli seems to be a prize catch for the Tamil Nadu Police as it comes close on the heels of the serial blasts in Bangalore and Ahmedabad which claimed about 50 lives.
With the seizure of some modern gadgets used for making Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and timer devices from Abdul Gafoor (39), police foiled a possible major terror strike in the State, especially Chennai. The arrest of Gafoor comes barely a couple of hours after Chief Minister M Karunanidhi chaired a high-level meeting at the State Secretariat here last evening and directed the police to maintain vigil and prevent any untoward incident in the State following the serial blasts.
Tamil Nadu Director General of Police K P Jain said acting on a tip-off, police raided Gafoor's residence at Pettai in Tirunelveli and seized 21 gadgets, including a clock mechanism used in bombs, model electric circuit, battery cells and two plastic containers.
He was planning to bring the timer devices to Chennai to trigger blasts, when he was arrested, Mr Jain said, adding he was being extensively questioned to ascertain his links with extremist organisations.
Police sources, quoting preliminary investigations, said Gafoor was said to be a close associate of Senior Jihad Committee Member Ali Abdullaah who had been lodged in Puzhal Central prison here. He had established contacts with him and hatched a conspiracy in the jail to trigger bomb blasts in several parts of the State. ''His initial plan was to trigger blasts in Tirunelveli Collectorate and in some places of worship in Chennai City and Tirunelveli on or before August 15, the sources said.
''Planting bombs in trains was also part of his conspiracy,'' the official sources added.
Meanwhile, tight security arrangements were put in place to prevent any untoward incident.
An unprecedented security cover has been thrown in and around temples and places of worship across the State.
Extra vigil was being maintained in all places where people congregate in large numbers and the movement of anti-social elements, fundamentalists and extremists have come under police scanner.
Meanwhile, the Chennai City Police have secured three people for interrogation for allegedly sending text SMS asking people not to venture out of their house as Chennai will be the next possible target of terror attack.
Reacting to the SMS, Chennai City Police Commissioner R Sekar warned of stringent action against those indulging in such acts and appealed to the public to ignore such messages.