NEW DELHI: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday chaired a meeting with officials in connection with raids by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on the premises linked to the Popular Front of India (PFI).
The National Security Advisor (NSA), Ajit Doval, the Home Secretary, Ajay Kumar Bhalla, the Director General of NIA, Dinkar Gupta and the Director of Intelligence Bureau of India, Tapan Deka were among those present in the meeting with Shah.
The raids spread over 10 states and involving the NIA, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and state police forces have been described by the agency as the largest such investigation till date against terror funding suspects.
According to sources, over 100 PFI leaders were arrested in the raids conducted at multiple locations across the country. These searches are being conducted at the residential and official premises of persons involved in "funding terrorism, organizing training camps and radicalizing people to join proscribed organizations".
The raids were conducted in Telangana, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and many more states, said sources. Assam Police earlier informed that they have detained nine persons linked with PFI in the state, of which four were detained from the Nagarbera area in the Kamrup district.
NIA earlier this month also raided 40 places in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh in a PFI case and detained four persons. The agency then conducted searches at 38 locations in Telangana (23 in Nizamabad, four in Hyderabad, seven in Jagityal, two in Nirmal, one each in Adilabad and Karimnagar districts) and at two locations in Andhra Pradesh (one each in Kurnool and Nellore districts) in the case relating to Abdul Khader of Nizamabad district in Telangana and 26 other persons.
The PFI was launched in Kerala in 2006 after merging three Muslim organizations floated after the Babri Masjid demolition in 1992 - the National Development Front of Kerala, Karnataka Forum for Dignit and Manitha Neethi Pasari of Tamil Nadu.
After the demolition of the Babri mosque, many fringe outfits surfaced in south India and PFI was formed after merging some of them.