ANI Photo | Phulwarisharif PFI case: NIA arrests five Hawala operatives from Kerala, Karnataka

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Tuesday arrested five Hawala operatives in Phulwarisharif Popular Front of India (PFI) case from Kerala and Karnataka.
With these arrests from Kasargod in Kerala and Dakshin Kannada in Karnataka, the NIA said, a PFI funding-by-hawala module operating out of Bihar and Karnataka with roots in the United Arab Emirates has been busted.
Those arrested have been identified as Mohammad Sinan, Sarfraz Nawaz, Iqbal, Abdul Rafeek M and Abid K M Sivasankar.

The arrested persons 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, said the NIA.
Earlier in this case, seven accused persons have already been arrested when they had gathered in Phulwarisharif 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 and Dakshin Kannada since Sunday, said the anti-terror agency, adding “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.”

While tracing and tracking the funds being moved by the PFI across the country, especially the states of Kerala, Karnataka and Bihar, the NIA said, its investigations into the Phulwarisharif PFI case of Bihar have led to the un-earthing of a large network of hawala operatives in South India and their arrest from Karnataka.
PFI cadres in Phulwarisharif and Motihari in Bihar 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 this year.
Pursuing the investigational leads since July 2022, the NIA team found that despite the ban on PFI imposed on September 27 laat year, 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’, the 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, said the NIA.

“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 accused and the suspects. .
“Further investigations are on to track, trace and choke international as well domestic illicit funding channels of the banned PFI,” added the NIA.

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