The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Friday filed two chargesheets against a total of 68 Popular Front of India (PFI) leaders, cadres and members in two separate cases in Kochi (Kerala) and Chennai (Tamil Nadu).
With these, the total number of chargesheets filed by NIA against PFI cadres this month has gone up to four. The first such chargesheet was filed in Jaipur on March 13 and the second in Hyderabad on March 16.
The chargesheets filed on Friday in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the two states where PFI is the most active, relate to separate criminal conspiracies hatched by the PFI to create a wedge between people of different communities through the radicalisation of impressionable Muslim youth, providing them with training in handling of weapons, and raising funds for carrying out acts of terror and violence with the ultimate objective of establishing an Islamic Rule in India by 2047, said the NIA statement.
Kerala PFI case was registered in September 2022 by the NIA to probe the criminal conspiracy hatched by the PFI and its leaders and cadres to create a wedge between people of different communities through the radicalisation of impressionable Muslim youth, training them in the handling of weapons and raising funds for carrying out acts of terror and violence with the ultimate objective of establishing an Islamic Rule in India by 2047.
In addition to the above-mentioned criminal conspiracy, the NIA has, in its Kerala chargesheet, also included the connected case of the brutal killing of a Palakkad resident, Sreenivasan, who was hacked to death by armed PFI cadres.
NIA investigations had shown some of the accused in the PFI criminal conspiracy case (September 2022) to have been involved in the Sreenivasan killing too, according to an agency spokesperson.
The accused in the two chargesheets filed today have been charged under various sections of IPC, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, and the Arms Act, 1959.
In the Kerala case, registered in September 2022, the chargesheet has been filed in the Special Court for NIA Cases, Ernakulam, against the PFI as an organisation and 58 other accused persons. NIA had arrested 16 of the accused after taking over the case in 2022, while the others were arrested earlier by Kerala Police.
The Kerala chargesheet has been filed after searches conducted by the NIA at more than 100 locations across the state. The NIA has also attached 17 properties as they were identified as ‘proceeds of terrorism’ and frozen 18 bank accounts of the accused during the course of its investigations.
Investigations in the case revealed that the accused had been conspiring to drive a wedge between different communities and groups living in India, spread the concept of violent extremism and Jihad in India with the objective of dismembering the country and taking it over by establishing Islamic Rule in India by 2047.
To achieve these objectives, PFI established various wings and units, such as ‘Reporters Wing’, ‘Physical and Arms Training Wing’ and ‘Service Teams’, said the NIA statement.
Investigations by the NIA revealed that PFI was using its various campuses, facilities and infrastructure to impart arms training to selected cadres in the guise of physical education, yoga training etc. They also established a ‘Reporters Wing’ and ‘Service Teams or Hit Teams’ to eliminate their ‘targets’. Whenever required, PFI pressed into service it’s loyal and highly trained cadres of their ‘Service Teams’, as ‘executioners’ of the Orders pronounced by their parallel Courts, called ‘Dar-ul-Qaza’.
In a separate case registered and investigated by NIA Branch Office in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, NIA has also filed a chargesheet against 10 accused on Thursday. This case was also registered in September 2022 to probe the criminal conspiracy, hatched by the PFI and its leaders to divide people based on religious affiliations through radicalization and weapons training.
Some of the prominent PFI leaders and office bearers charge-sheeted in this case on Friday include Abdul Sathar state general secretary, Yahiya Koya Thangal state executive member, Shihas MH Ernakulam zonal secretary, along with district secretaries/president Sainudhen TS, Sadik AP, CT Sulaiman and PK Usman state general secretary Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) Kerala.
In the Tamil Nadu case, the chargesheet filed before the NIA Special Court Chennai has named 10 accused, including Khalid Mohammed, the state vice president of PFI. This case was also registered in September 2022, when nine of the accused were arrested by NIA. The 10th accused was taken into custody a few months later.
NIA investigations in the case had shown that the accused had conducted radicalization programmes to motivate, instigate and recruit gullible Muslim youth, who were then provided weapons training in training camps. PFI cadres used to carry out instructions of PFI office bearers and leaders to conduct recce and attack adversaries and commit unlawful and violent activities.