PALAKKAD/KOCHI : The National Investigation Agency (NIA) arrested PFI former secretary C A Rauf from his house in Pattambi, Palakkad, on Thursday midnight. After recording the arrest, the NIA took Rauf to Kochi for questioning. The NIA personnel arrived in Pattambi at midnight and circled the house of Rauf in Karimpully near Pattambi. Both the Kerala police and the NIA had been searching for Rauf for some time. They were in search of him even before the ban on the outfit.
After the call for hartal by the PFI against the ban, Rauf had gone into hiding. Though the police had raided his house and the PFI offices here earlier, they could not locate him. However, they had kept a tab on the places that he was likely to go and also the persons he could meet. The relatives of Rauf were also being monitored. The NIA then received a tip-off that he was in his house on Thursday.
Rauf was produced before the NIA Court in Kochi on Friday evening. The court remanded him to judicial custody till November 18 and he was shifted to Ernakulam District Jail at Kakkanad. NIA has filed a petition at the court seeking the custody of Rauf which will be considered on Monday.
NIA believes Rauf had helped the other leaders of the PFI to evade arrest after the ban on the outfit. Even when Rauf was hiding, he used to control the organisational activities of PFI. He also apportioned the funds received from abroad among the various branches and also extended legal support to the cadres. He was also in charge of the media and public relations wing of PFI.
Following the widespread violence in connection with the hartal called by the PFI and the recent killings of RSS activists in Palakkad, Rauf was on the radar of law enforcement agencies. But he skilfully evaded them and operated from his hideout. The Centre had banned the PFI outfit for five years recently. As many as 12 PFI leaders were arrested in the case registered by NIA Kochi unit. Similarly, eight Keralites were arrested in another case registered against PFI by NIA New Delhi unit.
PFI leadership has the apprehension that any frustrated reaction from the uncontrolled cadre would jeopardise the legal fight because such acts will be used against the organisation while cases come up in the courts.