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`NDF received aid from foreign countries'

Staff Reporter

Assistant Commissioner of Police deposes before Marad inquiry panel

KOZHOKODE: A key witness in an illegal arms possession case had given a statement to the police during its investigation that the National Development Front (NDF) had been receiving crores of rupees as funds from foreign countries to carry out its training programmes, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Special Branch, Ernakulam, A.V. George, told the Marad Judicial Inquiry Commission here on Saturday.

Mr. George while deposing before Commission chairman Thomas P. Joseph said that P.P. Harris, hailing from Panniyankara in Kozhikode, had testified in the case in which K.P. Mohammed Ashraf and M.U. Subiar, had been accused in the Coimbatore serial blasts on February 14, 1998. However, the police were not able to investigate into the charges of that organisation obtaining funds from other countries, he said.

Both Ashraf and Subiar were arrested from the private bus station in Kozhikode on March 31, 1998. A country-made revolver, cartilages and passports were recovered from them. They had been charge sheeted for harbouring Ooma Babu, a prime accused in the Coimbatore serial blast case, Mr. George said.

Based on the statement of Ashraf in the case, Mr. George said that Ashraf had been sent by People's Democratic Party (PDP) chief Abdul Nasir Maudany to get himself trained in Pakistan. But the emigration officials detained him at Bangkok and he was forced to return to India. Maudany had paid for the expenses of Ashraf through travel agencies in the State capital. Ashraf, now lodged at the Coimbatore Central prison, had been a PDP worker who later shifted his loyalties to NDF. One of the reasons for his joining NDF was that his friends at Marad were associated with that organisation. Even while working for NDF, his mind was with PDP. He had gone to Coimbatore to study the activities of Al-Umma.

Harris had also testified that Subiar had been with the secret wing of the NDF while also being its unit convener at Panniyankara, Mr. George said. According to Maudany's testimony, Mr. George said the NDF had been sending people to Pakistan for the last several years. But Maudany had not given any evidence based on his statement.

Ashraf's intention of visiting Pakistan had been aimed at forming a new organisation — Majlis Thabeethul Islami — because members of PDP were joining extremist organisations such as the NDF.

He had also drawn up a plan to include as members in his proposed outfit workers of the Congress and the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI). The police had not investigated into this aspect though it was known that Ashraf had been sent for training in Pakistan. He had also testified that the participants were being urged to dissociate with the PDP, said Mr. George, who had arrested Maudany and the other two accused when he was Circle Inspector at the Town Station in Kozhikode city from March 23, 1996 to May 1, 1998.

Mr. George also said that the NDF and the PDP units had cooperated with each other to carry out extremists' activities. The organisational structure of these organisations appeared to be different.

During his examination before the Commission, the ACP (Traffic), Kozhikode, P.V. Moosa said the first accused in the pipe bomb case at Kadalundi, P.K. Mohammed Sheriff alias Abdurehiman, had been closely associated with Imam Ali of Al-Umma and had stayed with him for 25 days in 1991. The pipe bomb case relates to the recovery of 10 bombs underneath the Kooman Bridge of Kadalundi River in December 31, 1995.

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