Bihar: NIA searches 20 more locations in Phulwari Sharif ‘terror module’ case

The National Investigation Agency on Thursday searched 20 locations in Bihar in the Phulwari Sharif terror case that it took over from police.

According to the agency, searches were spread across the districts of Nalanda, Katihar, Arariya, Madhubani, Patna, Vaishali, Darbhanga, Muzaffarpur and Saran.

“Searches were also conducted this morning in Shiv Ganga district in Tamil Nadu and South Kannada district in Karnataka in the case pertaining to the involvement of Popular Front of India (PFI) in anti-national activities,” the NIA said in a statement. “During the searches conducted today at the premises of accused and suspects, incriminating materials including digital devices and documents have been seized.”

In July, the agency searched 10 locations in Patna, Darbhanga, East Champaran, Nalanda and Madhubani districts after a retired Jharkhand policeman and two others part of a “potential terror module” were arrested.

Athar Parvez, an alleged former SIMI member; Mohammed Jalaluddin, a retired sub-inspector; and Arman Malik were picked up from the Phulwari Sharif area and accused of planning to foment trouble during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bihar visit. Police said the trio, allegedly linked to the PFI, had sought to target those “who make adverse and objectionable” comments on Islam.

Patna senior superintendent of police Manavjit Singh Dhillon then said the trio had held meetings and imparted physical training “just as RSS shakhas are held for physical training…”, a remark that prompted the BJP to seek disciplinary action against the IPS officer.

“They had been holding meetings at mosques and madrasas and working towards what is called radicalisation. Just as RSS shakhas are held for physical training and imparting training in wielding lathis, they had been giving physical training to their people. Besides Bihar, some of the named members are from Karnataka also,” Dhillon had told reporters.

A day before the arrests, police booked 26 people allegedly part of a “potential terror module” under Indian Penal Code sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 121 and 121A (waging war against state), 153A (promoting enmity between different groups), 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration).

The accused said they were looking to expand the PFI’s base in Patna, according to police.

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