Cracking down on the ISIS module which is being operated by the extremist Islamist organization of PFI (Popular Front of India) — the premier investigative agency of the country, NIA on Monday conducted raids at several locations in Delhi, Kerala, and Karnataka to find out which of the PFI leaders were behind sending the youth abroad to join ISIS. According to news reports, the NIA team raided a PFI worker’s home in the Malappuram district of Kerala and conducted multiple raids at the homes of other PFI leaders in other districts of Kerala.
Lately, a large number of youngsters from Northern Kerala have joined ISIS and left for countries like Afghanistan, and the name of PFI has regularly surfaced up in such cases. However, this is not the first time that PFI and its members have found themselves in the investigation net of the central agencies.
Reported by TFI in December last year, raids were conducted by the Enforcement Directorate on PFI’s 26 locations in Chennai, Tenkasi and Madurai (Tamil Nadu), Bengaluru, Darbhanga and Purnea (Bihar), Lucknow and Barabanki (Uttar Pradesh), Aurangabad in Maharashtra, Kolkata and Murshidabad (West Bengal), Jaipur, Shaheen Bagh area in Delhi and in Kochi, Malappuram and Thiruvananthapuram districts of Kerala under provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
According to the ED, as many as 73 bank accounts maintained by the PFI, its related entity Rehab India Foundation (RIF) and certain individuals/entities with 17 different banks were detected during the raids. Scrutiny of transactions revealed that Rs 120.50 crores were credited in these accounts and most of it was withdrawn rather instantly or within a couple of days—suggesting that the money was gliding across hands as riots were funded heavily by PFI and foreign entities.
The raids were conducted to establish the link between the credited funds and the withdrawal of huge amounts of money to the outfit’s alleged involvement in fuelling the Delhi riots and the anti-CAA protests that took place in the country.
Apart from its involvement in the Delhi riots, PFI is also accused of orchestrating the Bengaluru riots in the month of August last year. Over 180 people, many affiliated to the PFI and its political arm SDPI were immediately arrested for being conspirators and participants in the planned frenzy by a violent mob of thousands of radical Muslims.
NIA, in 2018 had dubbed the PFI as a threat to national security and the then Union Minister Kiren Rijiju had remarked that the government was considering banning the outfit. However, the government is yet to ban PFI. But with the ED and NIA collecting copious amounts of evidence from the raids, one can expect the Modi administration can bring down the sledgehammer on the organisation that has been accused of riots, arson, forced conversions, the radicalisation of Muslim youths, and linkages with banned outfits like ISIS.