New Delhi: After the arrest of over 100 people linked to the Popular Front of India (PFI) last week, raids were conducted in multiple locations across six states and one Union Territory Tuesday, in which 247 suspected PFI functionaries were detained.
The raids across Karnataka, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Maharashtra and Telangana were conducted by the state police, in continuation with the ‘coordinated crackdown’ by the Enforcement Directorate and National Investigation Agency.
According to sources, these raids were planned based on inputs received after interrogating the arrested members and the focus was on mostly mid-rung PFI officials. They also said that the suspected PFI functionaries have been detained as part of a preventive measure under 107/51 of the CrPC for breach of peace based on the inputs received from the NIA.
The most number of detainees are from Karnataka where police have grounded 72 people. In Uttar Pradesh, 42 have been detained while in Maharashtra, the number was 43. In Delhi, police detained 30 people, 21 in Madhya Pradesh, 20 in Assam and 15 were held in Gujarat.
Sources in the Delhi Police said that the raids were conducted around 3 am across six districts of the national capital.
Last Thursday, 106 PFI functionaries were arrested in NIA-led raids conducted across 15 states, spanning 93 locations. The coordinated raids were conducted by the NIA, ED and the state police over PFI’s alleged support to terror activities.
While the NIA arrested 45 members, the remaining 61 were arrested by the local police and the ED, that is probing allegations of the PFI having funded the 2019 anti-CAA protests and the 2020 Delhi riots.
The raids have been conducted in connection with the five cases registered by the NIA over suspected links between PFI members and terrorist activitis. The central agency said that it received inputs and evidence that the PFI leaders and members have been involved in terror funding, organising camps for training and also radicalising people to join banned outfits.
Earlier the Enforcement Directorate had told a PMLA court that Rs 120 crore have been deposited in PFI accounts and other related entities for unlawful activities in the last two years following the arrest of Muhammed Shafeeque Payeth, a PFI leader from Kozhikode in Kerala.
The PFI has been accused of allegedly funding the anti-CAA riots, northeast Delhi riots, violence in Hathras following the alleged gangrape and murder of a 20 year old Dalit girl, among other allegations.
The organisation has often been blamed to be an offshoot of the banned outfit, Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). Over the years, several calls have been made to ban PFI over alleged involvement of the organisation in multiple sensitive cases.