THANJAVUR/TIRUCHY/KARAIKAL : A day after taking over probe into the murder of PMK functionary V Ramalingam, officers of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) carried out searches in the offices of Popular Front of India (PFI), SDPI, and houses of some PFI functionaries in Tiruchy, Thanjavur and Karaikal on Thursday.
Ramalingam, former town secretary of the PMK, of Thoondil Vinayagampettai in Tirubhuvanam near Kumbakonam was hacked on February 5 by a gang after a video clip of him arguing with Muslims allegedly trying to proselytise went viral. Police filed a case against 16 persons and arrested 11 persons including some cadre of PFI. The probe was transferred to NIA and a case registered on March 7, 2019 under IPC sections, including 307, 120B, 302 and sections 15 r/w 16, 18, 18B, 19, 20 of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.
On Thursday, officers from the central agency conducted simultaneous searches. A team along with 50 police personnel reached the PFI office in Palakkarai in Tiruchy around 8 am and entered it by 9 am. The operation continued till evening. At the PFI office located on Nanjikkottai road in Thanjavur, enquiries were made about those who visited the office on February 3,4. Inquiries were also made at the SDPI office in Kumbakonam. The team also visited houses of the some of the 11 PFI members arrested in connection with the case.
In Karaikal, the team conducted raids in the house of Muhammed Kuthoos, former district president of PFI, and one of the accused in the murder. The inquiry with Kutthoos’s relatives took place around 4 am. The PFI office Later, was also searched for several hours from 6 am.
Reacting to the developments, TKSM Meenatchisundharam, district president of BJP said the raids caused panic among public and many people were afraid to go near the office of PFI. Responding to this, Karaikal district secretary of PFI H Badurudhin accused BJP of spreading false propaganda to malign his outfit. “We do not feel negative about the raids. NIA officers gave us the list of items they seized from our office. But the BJP is trying to malign us with false propaganda,” he said.
In Karaikal, the NIA team conducted raids in the house of Muhammed Kuthoos,
a former district president of Popular Front of India, and one of the accused in the murder