PFI offices in Karnataka to be sealed; more arrests likely

‘All their bank accounts will be frozen and impounded. The Enforcement Directorate will also probe these accounts’

September 28, 2022 10:36 pm | Updated 10:36 pm IST - Bengaluru

Police posted in front of the PFI office in Bengaluru on Wednesday.

Police posted in front of the PFI office in Bengaluru on Wednesday. | Photo Credit: K. MURALI KUMAR

Following the ban on Popular Front of India (PFI) and Campus Front of India (CFI), the State police are now gearing up for implementing the order in Karnataka. All offices of PFI and CFI in the State will be searched, seized and sealed, and more arrests will likely follow, sources said.

With the Union Ministry of Home Affairs delegating to the State government the implementation of ban, the latter has in turn authorised Deputy Commissioners and Commissioners of Police to implement the ban, said Karnataka State Police chief Praveen Sood.

List to MHI

“The district magistrates will now submit a report to the Home Secretary listing out all premises used by PFI and other proscribed affiliates across the State. The Home Secretary will then notify these entities, following which search, seizure and closure of these premises will happen. All their bank accounts will be frozen and impounded. The Enforcement Directorate will also probe these accounts,” he said. The State police have already installed pickets at most of the PFI offices in the State.

The ban will only be prospective and not retrospective, police sources said. “There is a grey area on whether the members of these organisations are liable for prosecution now. But any continued association with these organisations, or any activities under their banner will make the person liable for prosecution under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967,” a senior official said.

No roster of members

“Our sources said PFI does have a roster of members. We will have to see what they have on record during the raids that will follow now. The government has to take a call on whether to arrest all office bearers or not,” the official said. State Intelligence and other units of the State police have already launched a massive watch on PFI members and their activities henceforth.

However, another senior official overseeing the action on PFI over the last week said the top leadership of PFI in the State is in custody — seven arrested by NIA and 14 by Bengaluru City Police on September 22, and over 90 PFI office bearers were taken into preventive custody by the State police on Tuesday hours before the ban. “When we raid PFI offices, more arrests of office bearers of the organisation will likely be arrested,” a senior official said.

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