The National Investigation Agency (NIA) in a case registered against the banned Popular Front of India (PFI) and its cadres has filed four charge sheets against more than 75 accused over alleged criminal conspiracy to establish Islamic rule in the country by 2047. All the charge sheets have been filed in the past 15 days, the NIA has said.
The first charge sheet was filed against two accused. This case was registered in September 2022 to probe the criminal conspiracy, which had allegedly been hatched by PFI leaders/cadres with the aim of driving a wedge between different communities in India through radicalisation, along with other allegations.
The second was filed against five accused, and earlier in December 2022, the agency had filed another charge sheet against 11 accused in the case after taking over the investigation in August 2022 from Telangana Police.
Charge sheets were filed on Friday in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, the two states where the PFI is the most active, with similar allegations in other cases and raising funds for carrying out acts of terror and violence with the ultimate objective of establishing Islamic rule in India by 2047.
The Kerala case
In the case registered in September 2022, the charge sheet has been filed in the Special Court for NIA Cases, Ernakulam, against the PFI as an organisation and 58 other accused persons. The agency had arrested 16 of the accused after taking over the case in 2022, while the others were arrested earlier by Kerala police.
The Kerala charge sheet has been filed after searches conducted by the NIA at more than 100 locations across the state. The agency 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.
In its Kerala charge sheet, the NIA also included the connected case of the brutal killing of a Palakkad resident, Sreenivasan, who was allegedly hacked to death by armed PFI cadres. The investigations had shown some of the accused in the PFI criminal conspiracy case (September 2022) to have been involved in the Sreenivasan killing too.
The probe in the case had revealed that the accused had been conspiring to drive a wedge between different communities and groups living in India, spreading 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, the PFI had established various wings and units, such as “Reporters Wing”, “Physical and Arms Training Wing”, and “Service Teams”.
Investigations by the NIA have revealed that the 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 its loyal and highly trained cadres of their “Service Teams”, as “executioners” of the orders pronounced by their parallel courts, called “Dar-ul-Qaza”.
The Chennai charge sheet
In a separate case registered and investigated by the National Investigation Agency’s branch office in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, the NIA has also filed a charge sheet against 10 accused on Friday. 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 radicalisation and weapons-training of impressionable Muslim youth to launch an armed struggle against the Government of India with the objective of establishing Islamic rule in India by 2047.
Some of the prominent PFI leaders and office-bearers charge-sheeted in the case filed on Friday include Abdul Sathar state general secretary, Yahiya Koya Thangal state executive member, Shihas MH Ernakulam zonal secretary, along with district secretaries/president Sainudheen TS, Sadik AP, CT Sulaiman and PK Usman state general secretary Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) Kerala.
In the Tamil Nadu case, the charge sheet 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.
The NIA investigations in the case had shown that the accused had conducted radicalisation programmes to motivate, instigate, and recruit gullible Muslim youth, who were then provided weapons training in camps. The PFI cadres used to carry out instructions of the outfit’s office-bearers and leaders to conduct recce, attack adversaries, and commit unlawful and violent activities.
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