Nearly 100 leaders of Popular Front of India were detained or arrested in early morning raids by multi-agencies led by the National Investigation Agency in around 10 states for allegedly supporting terror activities in the country, officials said.
According to media reports on 29th August in a top level meeting attended by the top security brass Home Minister Amit Shah made it clear that all of PFI’s cadre and its financial funding need to be wiped off.
According to the officials, nearly 100 people were either arrested or detained during the raids which have been termed as the “largest-ever investigation process till date”.
Details of the arrests were not available immediately, but officials said the arrests were done by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the police forces of six states so far.
The raids are taking place in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karantaka, Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and the national capital.
The officials said the searches are taking place at the premises of persons involved in terror funding, organising training camps, and radicalising people to join proscribed organisations.
The Popular Front of India (PFI), in a statement, said, “The raids are taking place at the homes of national, state and local leaders of PFI. The state committee office is also being raided.
“We strongly protest the fascist regime’s move to use agencies to silence dissenting voices,” it said.
The ED has been investigating the PFI’s alleged “financial links” on charges of fuelling the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protests in the country, the Delhi riots that took place in February, 2020, alleged conspiracy in the Hathras (a district in Uttar Pradesh) case of alleged gang-rape and death of a Dalit woman, and a few other instances.
The Popular Front of India was formed in 2006 in Kerala and is headquartered in Delhi.
The probe agency has filed two charge sheets against PFI and its office-bearers before a special PMLA court in Lucknow.
In February last year, the ED filed its first charge sheet against PFI and its student wing Campus Front of India (CFI) on money laundering charges, claiming its members wanted to “incite communal riots and spread terror” in the aftermath of the alleged Hathras gang-rape.
Those named in the charge sheet include K A Rauf Sherif, national general secretary of CFI and a member of PFI; Atikur Rahman, national treasurer of campus front of India (CFI); Masud Ahmed, Delhi-based general secretary of CFI; journalist “associated with PFI” Siddique Kappan and Mohammed Alam, another CFI/PFI member.
In the second charge sheet filed this year, the ED had claimed that a hotel based in the UAE hotel “served” as a money laundering front for the PFI. With PTI inputs