The National Investigation Agency is conducting searches across 30 locations in Bihar in connection with its probe into a suspected terror module allegedly linked to the Popular Front of India. Officials told News18 on condition of anonymity that the outfit is alleged to be running “arms training camps under the guise of martial arts training”.
The areas where the raids are being carried out reportedly include Chhapra, Araria, Aurangabad, Kishanganj, Nalanda and Jehanabad.
The Union Home Ministry had handed over the case to the NIA after the Bihar Police busted the alleged terror module with the arrest of three people in July this year. Mohammad Jalaluddin, a retired Jharkhand Police officer, and Athar Parvez were arrested on July 13 from the Phulwari Sharif area of Patna, while Nuruddin Jangi was arrested three days later from Lucknow by Uttar Pradesh ATS, on the request of Bihar Police.
“They have links with PFI. Jallauddin was earlier associated with Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI)… They were teaching locals how to use swords and knives and also instigating them for communal violence. An investigation has revealed that people from other states were visiting them in Patna. Those visitors used to change their names while staying in hotels in the Bihar capital to conceal their identities,” Phulwari Sharif Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Manish Kumar had said at the time of their arrest.
The Bihar Police had said they recovered two pamphlets written in English — ‘India 2047: Towards Rule of Islamic India’ and ‘Popular Front of India, 20 February, 2021’ after searches were conducted earlier against Jallauddin and Parvez.
The UP Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) had said that Nuruddin “confessed" during interrogation that he came in contact with the PFI Darbhanga district president in 2015 and has been associated with the organisation ever since.
The Enforcement Directorate had launched a money laundering probe into the case in July. The agency has been investigating PFI’s alleged “financial links" on charges of fuelling the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protests in the country, the Delhi riots that took place in February, 2020, alleged conspiracy in the Hathras (a UP district) case of alleged gangrape and death of a Dalit woman and a few other instances.
The Islamist organisation was formed in 2006 in Kerala and is headquartered in Delhi. The ED has filed two charge-sheets against PFI and its office bearers before a special PMLA court in Lucknow. It had in June attached bank deposits of more than Rs 68.62 lakh of PFI and its “front" organisation Rehab India Foundation as part of these probes.