The State government informed a Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Monday that there was no need to hand over the case relating to the assault on college teacher T.J. Joseph to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) as it was being investigated by a special team of police officers of proven track records.
In an affidavit filed in response to a writ petition seeking a ban on the Popular Front of India (PFI), the government said that senior police officers were supervising the investigation on a day-to-day basis. The police had conducted raids on various premises occupied by the National Development Front/ Popular Front of India/ Social Democratic Party of India all over the State, seized several incriminating material, and arrested twenty-two accused persons. The police were taking all efforts to arrest the remaining accused.
The affidavit said the police had filed a report before the Judicial First Class Magistrate-I, Muvattupuzha, incorporating various sections under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967, as it was found that the offences attracted provisions of the Act. Besides, the government had forwarded a report under Section 6(2) of the National Investigation Agency Act. As per the section, the government was bound to forward a report if cases were registered under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The plea of the petitioner that the investigation of the case needed to be handed over to the NIA was not justifiable. The affidavit pointed out that under Section 3 of the Act, powers to ban an organisation rest with the Central government and not with the State government.
The affidavit said it was too early to reach a conclusion that the PFI had spread its tentacles even to Gulf countries as alleged by the petitioner. It was true that the front was a confederation of the Karnataka Forum for Dignity (KFD), the National Development Front (NDF) of Kerala and the Manitha Neethi Pasarai of Tamil Nadu (MNP).Their linkage, if any, with the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) was under investigation. NDF and PFI activists were involved in several crimes including murders in the State.
The government said the allegation that extremists were getting foreign funds was being investigated by the police and intelligence agencies. There was no evidence to connect the PFI with the Hisbul Mujahideen, LeT and Al Qaeda.
The affidavit dismissed the allegation that terrorists were deep-rooted in the State. It would not be proper to reach such a conclusion on the basis of one or two isolated incidents. The police and intelligence agencies were keeping a vigil in this regard and had taken all precautionary measures to avert extremist attacks.
The police were investigating the allegation that the PFI was propagating ideologies against the interests of the country. The material unearthed during the raids indicated that they were indeed trying to propagate certain extreme ideologies to their cadres. A clear picture would emerge only after the completion of the investigation in this regard.