In one of the biggest crackdowns on the Popular Front of India (PFI), the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) sleuths swung into action across states and carried out searches at various locations. In all,106 people were arrested following the raids.
Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Amit Shah held a meeting in Delhi with Home Ministry Secretary Ajay Bhalla, National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval, and NIA Director General Dinkar Gupta over the crackdown on PFI.
A NIA source related to the probe told The New Indian, “The agency sleuths, along with the ED and state police, carried out searches in Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Puducherry, Assam, Bihar, Telangana, Delhi and Rajasthan.”
The source said that the anti-terror probe agency carried out searches on the premises of PFI offices and residences of its office-bearers along with the offices of its students’ wing Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI). During searches, the agency sleuths arrested 106 people from various locations.
The source added that from Karnataka and Maharashtra, 20 people each were arrested, while a maximum of 22 people were held in Kerala.
The source pointed out that from Tamil Nadu, 10 people have been arrested followed by eight in Uttar Pradesh, nine in Assam, five in Andhra Pradesh, three each from Delhi and Puducherry, four from Madhya Pradesh, and two in Rajasthan.
In Delhi, the team of ED and NIA reached the residential premises of PFI Delhi unit chief Parvez Ahmad. He was taken to the ED office for further questioning about the financial support to his organisation. However, officials remained tight-lipped if he was arrested or detained.
The NIA sleuths also detained two people from Maharashtra’s Pune. In Karnataka’s Mangaluru, the NIA team had to face a protest staged by the PFI and SDPI workers, who opposed the searches on the office premises of the organisation.
The source said that in Mangaluru, the NIA team carried out searches at over eight locations. According to the source, the agency sleuths are probing the source of funding to PFI, which it believes is being used for anti-national and terror activities across the country and for organising terror training camps.
In the last few days, the NIA has cracked down on several people associated with PFI. The ED is also probing several cases of money laundering related to PFI.
On September 18, the NIA carried out searches at 38 locations at multiple locations in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh in a case registered against PFI cadres in Nizamabad by Telangana Police on July 4 this year. The NIA registered the case on July 26.
NIA conducted searches at 38 locations in Telangana — 23 in Nizamabad, four in Hyderabad, seven in Jagityal, two in Nirmal, one each in Adilabad and Karimnagar districts, and at two locations in Andhra Pradesh, one each in Kurnool and Nellore districts in the case relating to Abdul Khader of Nizamabad District, Telangana and 26 other persons. The accused were organizing camps for imparting training to carry out terror acts and to promote enmity between different groups on the basis of religion. During investigations by the Telangana Police, four accused — Abdul Kader, Sheikh Sahadulla, Md Imran and Md Abdul Mobin — were arrested.
During the raids conducted by NIA on Thursday, incriminating materials, including digital devices, documents, two daggers, Rs 8.31 lakh in cash etc were seized and four persons detained for questioning.