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NIA busts PFI terror funding network linked to UAE, 5 arrested from Kerala & Karnataka

Photo for representation

The National Investigative Agency (NIA) has busted a PFI funding  module operating through hawala transactions out of Bihar and Karnataka with roots in the UAE and five operatives of the banned terrorist outfit have been arrested today from Kasargod in Kerala and Dakshin Kannada in Karnataka.

“The five arrested today 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,” according to an NIA statement.

“While tracing and tracking the funds being moved by the PFI across the country, NIA investigations into the Phulwarisharif PFI case of Bihar have led to the unearthing of a large network of hawala operatives in South India and their arrest from Karnataka,” the statement said.

NIA teams have been carrying out extensive searches in Kasargod and Dakshin Kannada since Sunday. Searches were conducted at 8 locations leading to the seizure of multiple digital devices and incriminating documents containing details of transactions running into several crore rupees, the statement added.

“Dogged 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 Mahammad Sinan, Sarfraz Nawaz, Abdul Rafeek M and Abid K. M. in India. Investigations have shown that Mohammad Sarfaraz, Md. Sinan and Md. Rafeek deposited this money in different bank accounts of the accused and the suspects,” the NIA statement disclosed.

These five accused will be produced in NIA Special Court Patna shortly.

Earlier in the case, 7 accused persons were arrested when they had gathered in the Phulwarisharif area of Patna in July last year for training and to carry out acts of terror and violence.

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 Feb 5.

Pursuing the investigational leads since July 2022, the NIA team found that despite the ban on PFI imposed on 27th September, the PFI and its 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 accused and suspects in the PFI case.

Further investigations are on to track, trace and choke international as well domestic illicit funding channels of the banned Peoples Front of India (PFI), the statement added.