Nationwide crackdown on PFI: Several top leaders arrested
New Delhi: In a major crackdown on the Popular Front of India (PFI), the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday raided premises linked to PFI in 15 States across the country and arrested several top PFI leaders and functionaries.
Sharing a list of 45 arrested persons, an NIA official said the agency carried out searches at 93 locations across 15 States, including Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Goa, West Bengal, Bihar and Manipur.
Sources said as many as 300 NIA officers were pressed into service to carry out the raids across India. The entire operation was supervised by NIA DG Dinkar Gupta. The NIA has learnt that many of the PFI functionaries arrested on Thursday were convicted in earlier cases. Around 355 PFI members have already been chargesheeted by the agency.
“The searches were conducted at the houses and offices of top PFI leaders and members in connection with five cases registered by the NIA, which received credible inputs that PFI cadres were involved in terror funding and terrorist activities, including organising camps for imparting training to the youth to commit terrorist acts, and radicalising them to join banned organisations,” the official said.
One such case was registered on July 4, 2022 at Nizamabad police station in Telangana against over 25 PFI cadres after the State police found that the accused were organising camps to impart training to commit violent and terrorist acts with the objective of promoting enmity between different groups on the basis of religion. Based on the FIR, the NIA had lodged a fresh case in this matter.
The official said several criminal cases have been registered by different States over the last few years against the PFI and its leaders for their involvement in violent acts, including chopping off the hand of a college professor, cold-blooded killing of people belonging to other faiths, collecting explosives to target prominent people and places, supporting the Islamic State and destroying public property, among others.
“During the searches conducted on Thursday, incriminating documents, cash, sharp-edged weapons and a large number of digital devices have been seized. The NIA has made 45 arrests — 19 from Kerala, 11 from Tamil Nadu, seven from Karnataka, four from Andhra Pradesh, two from Rajasthan, and one each from Uttar Pradesh and Telangana,” the official said. The NIA is investigating a total of 19 cases cases related to the PFI.