PFI has links with ISIS and Al Qaeda”: NIA

Debjit Mukherjee: On Tuesday, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) submitted in Special NIA Court in Kochi in Kerala that the banned Islamist outfit Popular Front of India (PFI) has links with the terror organisations ISIS and Al Qaeda. In its report, NIA said that several PFI leaders were in contact with Islamic State and Al Qaeda leaders, and the agency has proof of the same. NIA said this while seeking more time for investigation against PFI leaders arrested after the organisation was banned. As per the NIA investigation, the banned Islamist outfit also ran a secret wing.The NIA also claimed that the PFI secret wing was compiling a hit list of people from other communities. “The secret wing had a statewide network and was responsible for data collection and the preparation of the list,” the probe agency told the court. NIA said that “terrorist organisations like ISIS and Al Qaeda carry out their subversive activities by using anti-state and anti-religious outfits like PFI in countries where they cannot operate openly. NIA has received inputs that several PFI leaders in Kerala were in touch with some A Qaeda leaders. This requires detailed investigation.” The NIA also informed that digital and other evidence have been obtained in connection with PFI’s anti-national activities during the raids. “The investigation also revealed PFI leaders’ efforts to recruit youth for terrorist activities via social media groups. As the investigation nears completion, several people have already been questioned,” it added. The NIA has been given an additional 90 days to wrap up the investigation and file the charge sheet. 13 people have been booked in the case filed in Kochi. Following the Court’s decision, their judicial custody period was extended to 180 days.