INDIA. Mumbai: The five accused arrested by Maharashtra ATS as part of a nationwide crackdown by NIA and ED on the Popular Front of India (PFI) last month, were remanded to further ATS custody by the Nashik Sessions Court on Monday.
The five accused were arrested by the Maharashtra ATS, based on the instruction from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and Enforcement Directorate (ED) on September 22. Earlier, they were remanded to ATS custody till Monday.
When produced in the court amid heavy security on Monday, the defense lawyer argued that they are remanded to judicial custody since the investigation had progressed well.
However, Public Prosecutor Ajay Misar pointed out that further ATS custody was essential because of the vital information about their activities revealed during the interrogation.
As such, at least four days were reserved for their ATS custody, he argued. The court agreed to the ATS’s request.
The accused are Maulana Saifur Rehman Sayyed Ansari (26)- Malegaon, Abdul Kayym Badulla Shaikh (48)-Kondhwa, Pune, Razi Ahmed Khan (31), Kondhwa, Pune, Wasim Azim alias Munna Shaikh (29)-Beed, Maula Nasisab Mulla(30)-Kolhapur. According to ATS officials, the accused had constantly been visiting Gulf countries, and some of them had also received firing training.
While NIA arrested a total of 106 PFI activists in 11 states for allegedly supporting terror activities in the country, in Maharashtra, raids were conducted by ATS teams in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane, Aurangabad, Pune, Kolhapur, Beed, Parbhani, Nanded, Malegaon (in Nashik district) and Jalgaon. Nearly 20 activists were rounded up. They are being tried in different courts.
The offenses under Indian Penal Code sections including 153-A (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot), 121A (conspiring to commit certain offences against the State) and 120B (criminal conspiracy), and provisions of the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) have been registered against the accused.
Popular Front of India is an Indian Muslim political organization, that engages in a radical and exclusivist style of Muslim minority politics. Formed to counter Hindutva groups, it was banned by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs under the Unlawful Activities Act on September 28 September for a period of five years.