The massive, multi-agency crackdown on the Popular Front of India (PFI) was discussed, cleared and instructed by Union Home Minister Amit Shah on August 29 in a top-level meeting called on short notice to discuss the outfit’s growing list of illegal activities.
News18 was the first to report on September 1 about the meeting and the government’s plan for a massive crackdown on the outfit.
Teams of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) were sent on the intervening night of Wednesday and Thursday and before people could wake up, officials began a pan-India clampdown on the outfit.
Over 100 people, including top leaders of PFI, were arrested early on Thursday after raids in at least 100 locations across 13 states. Sources told News18 that the searches were carried out by the NIA, ED, and state police in a coordinated action.
Bihar, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka, and Telangana were among the states that were raided. Sources further said the Union Home Ministry was monitoring the entire crackdown.
Top officials who attended the August 29 meeting told News18 that Shah was keen to take all updates about PFI and its activities and once he received feedback from those present, he delegated tasks to different agencies. The idea was to go all in against the PFI but it was decided that agencies must complete their homework before kicking down the doors.
During the meeting, which was attended by the National Security Adviser, chiefs of R&AW, Intelligence Bureau and the NIA among others, top officials shared the latest updates, investigations and hurdles they faced in some states.
Shah made it clear that all of PFI’s cadre, financial funding, and terror network need to be wiped off and a plan was prepared involving different agencies.
In the meeting, central intelligence agencies were asked to gather information and prepare a dossier. They were instructed to pen down all the details about the involvement of PFI cadre in murders and extortion across India, including their recent activities.
The NIA was asked to investigate the cases and plan country-wide raids to trap cadre and PFI’s top-level leaders who work as the backbone and provide support to the workers.
Recently, the Ministry of Home Affairs also handed over multiple cases to the NIA related to the PFI which were being probed by the state police.
The latest one was a few weeks ago when the agency took over the Bihar PFI case in which a “terror module” was unearthed by Bihar Police with the arrest of three people for their alleged links with PFI and their plans to indulge in “anti-India” activities.
After the August 29 meeting, the ED was tasked with preparing the initial report about PFI’s funding, foreign support, and illegal transactions. It was also decided to rope in state police and their ground intelligence, especially in states that had raised an alarm about the outfit and were dealing with its illegal activities daily.
Once all agencies were ready with the details and received clearance from the top, they began preparing for a crackdown on PFI across India.