Chennai, Nov 29: A joint team of  National Investigation Agency (NIA), Counter Intelligence Cell sleuths of Telangana and CID special investigation division on Monday nabbed three suspected Al-Qaeda terrorists from Chennai and Madurai. According to initial investigation, the terror suspects were planning to assassinate Prime Minister Narendra Modi and target 21 VVIP leaders in the country. The investigative officers also seized explosive materials from their hideouts in Chennai and Madurai.

Those arrested are Abbas Ali (27), a resident of Madurai, Dawood Suleiman (23), a resident of Chennai and Samsum Karim Raja of Madurai. The NIA sleuths said that the suspects were responsible for five blasts in courts across south India. Dawood Suleiman, the leader of the group, had planned to kill 22 VVIP leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 23-year old Suleiman is a TCS software engineer from Karimsa Pallivasal in Madurai who lived in Thiruvanmiyur in Chennai.

Swooping down on various locations, NIA with the help of Tamil Nadu and Telangana Police, apprehended four youths for their involvement in the blasts at court complexes. “During sustained examination, three of the four confessed about their involvement in these blasts,” NIA spokesman said, adding three of them have been placed under arrest while the fourth was still being questioned. The investigators also said the suspects were members of a group that called itself ‘The Base Movement of al-Qaeda’. They were also associated with al Ummah, an organisation Tamil Nadu had banned in 1998.

The group had claimed responsibility for these blasts and circulated pamphlets, pen drives and CDs in the name of “The Base Movement”, translation of the word al Qaeda. The three arrested persons will be produced before the local courts in Chennai and Madurai for seeking transit remand for taking them to NIA special court at Bangalore, where the agency has registered a case relating to Mysore blast case.