Following their crackdown on the Islamist organisation across 15 states, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) learnt during interrogations of the arrested that the Popular Front of India’s idea was to not only disrupt Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally but also to eliminate him altogether. After cracking down on the PFI on 22 September, the NIA and ED submitted their remand reports in multiple courts across the country.
The agencies said that PFI wanted to establish Islamic rule in India by committing terrorist acts and also encouraged Muslim youths to join terror groups. The ED said that the PFI had plotted to cause a disturbance at Prime Minister Modi's Patna rally on 12 July.
During an interrogation by the ED, a PFI member from Kerala revealed how the radical outfit had planned to cause disturbances during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bihar visit on 12 July. Arrested PFI member Shafeeque Payeth said that the outfit had organised a training camp on how to spoil the rally, and preparations were made to hold protests with banners and posters.
The idea was to attack Prime Minister Modi during his visit to Patna. In October 2013, Indian Mujahideen terrorists, comprising members of the banned Students Islamic Movement in India like the PFI, had bombed the Gandhi Maidan where BJP’s then-prime ministerial candidate Modi was addressing a huge rally.
The ED arrested three other Islamists from Delhi — Parvez Ahmed, Mohammad Ilyas and Abdul Muqeet. Since 2018, the agency has questioned them on multiple occasions and charged PFI member Shafeeq Payeth, previously stationed in Qatar, with illegally using his NRI account in India to transfer money from outside to PFI in order to cause disruptions in the country.
The ED found that the PFI had collected about Rs 120 crore over the years, mostly in cash, to fund terror activities in the country. The amount was collected from across the states and abroad.
The ED found in Payeth’s premises last year investments in real estate and diversion of those funds into PFI accounts. “A significant portion of this fund was transferred in accounts from unknown and suspicious sources both within and outside the country. These funds have been used for illegal activities such as inciting Delhi riots in February 2020, sending PFI workers to Hathras with the intent of fanning communal tensions, instigating riots and terror, and gathering lethal weapons and explosives to launch attacks on important and sensitive places and leaders in Uttar Pradesh in order to undermine the nation’s unity, integrity, and sovereignty,” the ED said.
The NIA, which arrested 45 of the 109 leaders and activists of the Popular Front of India on 22 September during a nationwide crackdown with the ED and the police across 15 states, has seized documents revealing that prominent Hindu leaders were on target.
The PFI is facing a possible ban after law-enforcement agencies conducted searches at 93 locations across 15 states in the country on Thursday. The ED, the NIA and state police forces across India conducted raids at several locations of PFI for its alleged involvement in terror activities.
The multi-agency operation led to the arrest of 106 activists of the PFI.
The searches were conducted at the houses and offices of the top PFI leaders and members in connection with five cases registered by the NIA over the radical outfit’s alleged involvement with terror-related activists. PFI has been accused of being involved in funding terrorism and terrorist activities, organising training camps for providing armed training, and radicalising people to join banned organisations.