From hawala network to radical literature: Here is what has been found during raids on PFI

On Tuesday, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested five members of the outlawed Popular Front of India (PFI) and shattered a multi-state hawala network financing the operations of the organization. The NIA made the arrests and busted the network during the investigation of the Phulwarisharif PFI case in Bihar.

The arrested persons have been identified as PFI members Mahammad Sinan, Sarfraz Nawaz, Iqbal, and Abdul Rafeek M of Karnataka and Abid K M of Kerala. The agency stated that though the organization has been banned on September 27 last year, its members and leaders continued to propagate the ideology of violent extremism. The agency also said that the members had arranged arms and ammunition to commit crimes.

According to the reports, NIA teams have been conducting thorough searches since Sunday in Kasargod (Kerala) and Dakshin Kannada (Karnataka). Eight places were searched, and as a result, several digital gadgets and incriminating documents with information on transactions totalling several crores of rupees were seized.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) spokesman stated that the arrest came as a result of tracing and monitoring the money that the PFI was moving around the nation, particularly in Kerala, Karnataka, and Bihar. The spokesperson said that the agency’s investigations into the Phulwarisharif PFI case of Bihar had revealed a significant network of hawala operators in the southern part of the country.

“A PFI funding-by-hawala module operating out of Bihar and Karnataka with roots in the UAE has been busted with the arrests of the five operatives,” the agency official was quoted as saying.

“PFI cadres in Phulwari Sharif and Motihari had vowed to continue PFI activities in a clandestine manner in Bihar and had also arranged a firearm and ammunition recently to eliminate a youth of a particular community in Bihar’s East Champaran district. Three operatives of the module had been arrested on February 5,” the spokesperson added.

According to the official, those detained in Kerala and Karnataka have been proven to have actively participated in PFI’s criminal conspiracy to transport and channel money obtained illegally from outside of India for distribution to the leaders and members of the banned outfit.

The spokesman stated that seven of the accused had already been detained when they had convened in the Phulwari Sharif region of Patna, Bihar, in July of last year to prepare for and carry out acts of terror and violence. Reports mention that the NIA followed the leads since July last year and reached Nawaz and Sinan who were observed making deposits into the accounts of PFI case suspects and accusers.

“Dogged pursuit of the money trail and connecting the dots, the NIA managed to unravel the international conspiracy and linkages to the funds while investigating Iqbal and other associates who had collected illegally generated funds from Dubai and Abu Dhabi and handed them over to Sinan, Nawaz, Rafeek, and Abid in India,” the official stated.

As per the investigations, the arrested accused Sarfaraz, Sinan, and Rafeek transferred money into different bank accounts of the case suspects. Further inquiries, according to the NIA, are being made to identify and close the PFI’s criminal domestic and foreign financing conduits.

It is in July last year, that the National Investigation Agency took over the investigation of the Phulwari Sharif terror module case from Bihar and registered a case under the anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The development came after the Ministry of Home Affairs handed over the case to the NIA.

PFI planned terror attack at Phulwa Sharif to take revenge against comments by Nupur Sharma

The NIA earlier, in the last year also arrested a Maulavi named Asghar Ali from Dhaka Bazar of Motihari in connection with the Phulwari Sharif case. Accused Asghar Ali was a teacher in the Jamia Maria Misawa Madrasa in Dhaka Bazar. Notably prior to his arrest, the Bihar Police had arrested five persons in the case. A total of 26 people have been named in the FIR registered in the case.

The five arrested individuals include Md Jalaluddin and Athar Parvez who had trained around 26 people for creating violence at PM Modi’s event in Patna on July 12. Md Jalaluddin was a former police officer from Jharkhand while Parvez is believed to be a member of PFI and its political arm SDPI.

The Police back then also recovered the relevant documents from the accused to discover that the PFI was hurt by the alleged ‘blasphemous’ statements made by ex-BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma and that they had made a plan to take revenge against the alleged remarks. The FIR registered in the matter also mentioned that the accused belonging to the terrorist organization had planned to disturb the event in which PM Modi had participated on July 12.

During the interrogation, the Police discovered that the arrested accused Parvez was in frequent contact with members of several foreign organizations and was seeking foreign funding to carry out anti-India operations. Suspected terrorist training had also begun in Phulwari Sharif 15 days before PM Modi’s visit.

The Police also recovered an objectionable, anti-India document named ‘India vision 2047’ which talked about ‘subjugating coward majority community’ and establishing Islamic rule in the country when India would complete 100 years of Independence.

MHA outlaws PFI in 2022

Later in September last year, the Ministry of Home Affairs imposed a ban on the Islamist organization, Popular Front of India, and its affiliate organizations. The MHA issued a notification and stated that the organizations including All India Imams Council, Campus Front of India (CFI), Rehab India Foundation, National Conf of Human Rights Org, National Women’s Front, Junior Front, Empower India Foundation, and Rehab Foundation, Kerala operated unlawfully and needed to be banned under UAPA.

The ban came after two rounds of massive searches by the NIA in a multi-agency investigation against the organization for sponsoring terror operations in the nation. The initial series of raids occurred on September 22 last year, with a follow-up on September 27 in multiple states, resulting in the arrest of at least 250 persons associated with PFI.

The NIA, then also recovered several incriminating materials from the PFI hubs located in around 17 states of the country. Prominent among them include a brochure and CD related to ‘Mission 2047’. Further, a huge amount of undocumented cash was recovered from the PFI leaders of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and also document in a ‘short course on how to make IEDs using easily available materials’. Meanwhile, pen drives containing videos related to ISIS, and Gajwa-e-Hind were found from the Uttar Pradesh PFI leadership and Marine radio sets from Tamil Nadu PFI leadership. Many such other materials including wireless communication devices were taken into custody by the official.

Marine radio establishing sea terror links

While the NIA officials recovered the ‘Mission 2047’ document and PE training material from the PFI hideout in Maharashtra, it recovered GPS-enabled wireless communication devices and marine radio sets from the PFI leaders of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Two wireless sets, Lowrance LHR-80 Floating Handheld VHF with GPS, were seized. Wireless gadgets are used to map water routes and as reported earlier, the PFI members may have been utilizing them for sea terror actions and money exchange.

Pen drives include video of Gajwa-e-Hind, 1993 Bombay riots

The NIA during the raids also recovered several pen drives and other digital devices including three mobile phones from the PFI hideout in Uttar Pradesh. The devices contained a video of ISIS, a video of Gajwa-e-Hind, a video of a provocative speech, and a few video clips from the Islamic States. The pen drive also contained videos related to the 1993 Bombay riots and Kashmiri Mujahid. The PFI members had plans to spread the roots of the organization to almost every household by 2047. They also had plans to establish Islamic rule in the country by 2047, the year that would mark 100 years of the country’s independence.

For this purpose, the PFI leaders had prepared a document named ‘Mission 2047’ which had an “Internal document, Not for circulation”, written on it. The document stated that the Muslims in the country are denied their rights and that they should increase their population and target Hindus to become a political power in the coming 25 years.

Promoting Love Jihad and religious conversion

The investigating agencies also revealed that the PFI activists were deliberately encouraging the Islamists to trap Hindu women in love affairs and produce more children ultimately expanding the Muslim community. The PFI asked its cadres and other Muslims to force the Hindu women to convert their religion to Islam. At every PFI gathering, the activist would influence Muslims to run the agenda of love jihad and religious conversion. The organization had also declared a financial reward of Rs 2 lakh, a shop, and a house to anyone who would convert a Hindu girl to Islam. Reports mention that several Islamic organizations from several Islamic countries provided funds to the PFI for this purpose.

PFI organizations getting re-activated

Though the Islamist organization has been banned by the Central Government, the members and leaders seem to be working to turn India into an Islamic country by 2047. Recently, the NIA team conducted a secret operation in a crowded part of Vadodara city, Gujarat, and arrested three radicalized PFI members.

Also, the investigating agency conducted raids at seven locations in Rajasthan about cases of unlawful activities by the Popular Front of India (PFI), a banned outfit. The raids were conducted at three places in Kota and one each in Madhopur, Bhilwara, Bundi, and Jaipur districts on residential and commercial premises of PFI suspects. The agency recovered digital devices, an airgun, sharp weapons, and incriminating documents during the raids.

Further on February 5, three members of the banned organization were arrested by the Madhya Pradesh Police on charges of conspiring against the government and indulging in unlawful activities. The three accused were identified as Gulam Rasool Shah (37), Sajid Khan aka Gulam Nabi (56), and Parvez Khan (30). The three were engaged in training and instigating people to work for the organization by visiting various areas of the state.

The agency booked them under Indian Penal Code Sections 121A (conspiracy to wage war against government), 153B (assertions prejudicial to national integration), and 120B (criminal conspiracy), besides provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

The MHA in the notice issued on September 28 had stated that some PFI activists had joined the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and taken part in terrorist acts in Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Some of these PFI cadres affiliated with ISIS were executed in these conflict zones, while others were apprehended by state police and central authorities. According to the government, PFI has ties to Jamat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), a banned terrorist organization, and some of its founding members are leaders of the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), another banned organization.

The Home Ministry went on to say that the PFI’s office-bearers and cadres, along with others, were scheming and soliciting cash from within and beyond India via banking channels, ‘hawala’, and contributions as part of a “well-crafted criminal conspiracy.”

Source: OpIndia

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