The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Wednesday arrested an “expert arms trainer” as one more prime accused in the Bihar case relating to the banned Popular Front of India (PFI), taking the total number of arrests in the case to 15.
Yaqub Khan, 22, alias Sultan alias Usman, a resident of East Champaran district in Bihar, was arrested on charges pertaining to unlawful and anti-national activities of PFI cadres and members.
The NIA had earlier arrested 14 accused and seized several incriminating articles and documents related to the case. Four accused were charge-sheeted in the case on January 7 this year.
NIA investigations have revealed that Yaqub Khan was an “expert arms trainer of the PFI and had conducted many training sessions in furtherance of the outfit’s aggressive and violent agenda and activities.”
“Yaqub had arranged arms and ammunition to attack a youth from a particular community in order to wreak revenge and to whip up communal hatred. He had also uploaded controversial videos on social media to promote enmity among the communities,” said the NIA.
Yaqub was on the run since the houses of the PFI syndicate were raided and searched in early February this year, said the NIA.
“After the ban of PFI by the Central Government, Yaqub was in contact with FIR named accused Reyaz Moarif, and his associates Md Belal alias Irshad, and Afroz. He was also in contact with his Dubai (UAE) based associate Md Sajjad Alam through WhatsApp.
“He first concealed himself in Bettiah district of Bihar, with his aunt and thereafter, at Pokhara, Nepal with another accused Md Irshad Alam who has been since arrested in this case on 18th March. Later Yaqub Khan went to Mumbai and stayed there with another aunt at Dharawi and with a friend. Returning from Mumbai in April 2023, he remained with his friends/associates/relatives in East Champaran, Sitamarhi and Muzaffarpur districts of Bihar,” said the NIA.
The NIA has seized the SIM cards and mobile phones of Yaqub and is examining them for further leads in the case.
According to NIA investigations, the PFI continues to promote its toxic and communal agenda, ideology and activities even after its ban.
“PFI members and cadres have been engaged in efforts to arrange arms and ammunition to carry out attacks and other criminal activities,” said the NIA.
An initial First Information Report was registered on July 20 last year at Phulwarisharif Police Station in Bihar’s Patna district, and the NIA re-registered the case on July 22 last year