Telangana and Andhra Pradesh were among the 15 States where National Investigation Agency (NIA) has carried out coordinated searches jointly with the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the State police forces concerned in India since Thursday morning.

Apart from sealing the Popular Front of India (PFI) office in Chandrayangutta, the NIA sleuths arrested a person identified as Abdul Waris, who is the president of Andhra Pradesh unit of Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI).

A native of Kurnool district in Andhra Pradesh, Waris was residing at Nadeem Colony in Tolichowki. He was alleged to have played a key role in raising funds, sources said, adding that he contested assembly elections in 2019 in Andhra Pradesh. In all, the NIA conducted raids at Chandrayangutta, Nadeem Colony, LB Nagar, Uppal, and half a dozen places in Karimnagar.

With the arrest of Waris, the number of persons arrested by the NIA since Sunday in Telangana has gone up to five. Syed Yahiya Sameer of Nizamabad, Feroz Khan of Adilabad, Mohammed Osman of Medchal-Malkajgiri district and Mohammed Irfan of Karimnagar were arrested on Sunday.

Four persons – Abdul Rahim, Abdul Wahid Ali, Shaik Zafrulla and Riyaz Ahmed were arrested from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh on Thursday.

According to NIA, the searches were conducted at the houses and offices of the top PFI leaders and members in connection with five cases

registered by the NIA following continued inputs and evidence that the PFI leaders and cadres were involved in funding of terrorism and terrorist activities.

The PFI leaders and cadres were found to be organising training camps for providing armed training and radicalising people to join banned organisations. The NIA said a large number of criminal cases have been registered by different States over the last few years against the PFI and its leaders and members for their involvement in many violent acts.

Criminal violent acts carried out by PFI such as chopping off the hand of a college professor, cold blooded killings of persons associated with organisations espousing the other faiths, collection of explosives to target prominent people and places, support to Islamic State and destruction of public property have had a demonstrative effect of striking terror in the minds of the citizens.

During the searches conducted from Thursday morning, incriminating documents, cash, sharp edged weapons and a large number of digital devices have been seized. The NIA arrested 45 people in these cases. While 19 accused have been arrested from Kerala, 11 have been arrested from Tamil Nadu, seven from Karnataka, four from Andhra Pradesh, two from Rajasthan, one each from Uttar Pradesh and Telangana.

As on date, the NIA is investigating a total of 19 PFI related cases.

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