NEW DELHI: While tracing and tracking the funds being moved by the Popular Front of India (PFI) across the country, especially the States of Kerala, Karnataka, Bihar etc, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) investigations into the Phulwari Sharif PFI case of Bihar have led to the unearthing of a large network of hawala operatives in South India and their arrest from Karnataka.
A PFI funding-by-hawala module operating out of Bihar and Karnataka with roots in the UAE has been busted with the arrests of five PFI operatives from Kasargod, Kerala and Dakshin Kannada, Karnataka.
PFI cadres in Phulwarisharif and Motihari had vowed to continue PFI activities in a clandestine manner in Bihar and had also arranged a firearm and ammunition recently to eliminate a youth of a particular community in Bihar’s East Champaran District. Three operatives of the module had been arrested on February 5, 2023, said NIA statement.
The probing agency said the five arrested on Tuesday have been found to be actively involved in PFI’s criminal conspiracy to move and channelise illicit funds procured from outside India for distribution among PFI leaders and cadres.
Earlier in this case, seven accused persons have already been arrested when they had gathered in Phulwari Sharif area of Patna in July last year for training and to carry out acts of terror and violence.
NIA teams have been carrying out extensive searches in Kasargod (Kerala) and Dakshin Kannada, Karnataka since Sunday. Searches were conducted at eight locations leading to the seizure of multiple digital devices and incriminating documents containing details of transactions running into several crore rupees.
Pursuing the investigational leads since July 2022, the NIA team found that despite the ban on PFI imposed on September 27, the PFI and its leaders and cadres continued to propagate the ideology of violent extremism and were also arranging arms and ammunition to commit crimes.
‘Following the money’, NIA investigators reached Md Sarfraz Nawaz and Md Mahammad Sinan, who had been found making deposits in the bank accounts of the accused and suspects in the PFI case.
Dogged in pursuit of the money trail and connecting the dots, NIA managed to unravel the international conspiracy and linkages to the funds while investigating Iqbal and other associates who had collected illegally generated funds from Dubai and Abu Dhabi and handed them over to Muhammad Sinan, Sarfraz Nawaz, Abdul Rafeek M and Abid KM in India.
NIA investigations have shown that Mohammad Sarfaraz, Md Sinan and Md Rafeek deposited this money in different bank accounts of the accused and the suspects. These five accused will be produced in NIA Special Court Patna shortly.
Further investigations are on to track, trace and choke international as well domestic illicit funding channels of the banned PFI, said NIA. (ANI)