The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has announced Rs 5 lakh cash reward on 2 members of banned Islamist outfit Popular Front of India (PFI) wanted in the murder of BJP’s Yuva Morcha leader Praveen Nettaru.
The reward has been declared against Kadaje Mohammed Sherif, 53, and Masud KA, 40, both residents of the Kannada district in Karnataka.
The NIA has made it clear that the identity of those sharing information will be kept secret.
Members of the PFI are wanted in connection with the murder of Nettaru, a Bellare resident and late BJP District Secretary Yuv Morch, who was hacked to death outside his shop on July 26, 2022, to strike terror among the people of society.
So far, more than ten accused persons have been arrested in the Praveen Nettaru murder case, and the NIA has also declared a reward against four other absconding accused persons in this case as efforts to arrest them continue.
On July 27, 2022, the case was initially registered at Bellare Police Station in Dakshina Kannada district and re-registered by the NIA on August 4.
During several previous raids, the NIA claimed to have seized digital devices and incriminating documents from the houses of the accused and suspects.
Earlier, on the night of July 26, three people had come in a vehicle and hacked 32-year-old Nettaru to death outside his chicken shop off the Puttur-Sullia Road at Bellare in Mangaluru.
During the investigation, the state police found out the role of PFI, and the matter was handed over to the NIA following an order issued by the Counter Terrorism and Counter Radicalisation division of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
In September 2022, the MHA banned the PFI, its associates, and affiliates for five years under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967 by declaring it an unlawful association.
Besides involvement in Nettaru’s murder, the PFI cadres are also accused of involvement in several terrorist acts and the murder of several members of RSS and BJP, including Sanjith (Kerala, November 2021), V-Ramalingam (Tamil Nadu, 2019), Nandu (Kerala, 2021), Abhimanyu (Kerala, 2018), Bibin (Kerala, 2017), Sharath (Kamataka, 2017), R Rudresh (Kamataka, 2016), Praveen Puyari (Karnataka, 2016), and Sasi Kumar (Tamil Nadu, 2016).
The MHA has said that the PFI cadres have carried out criminal activities and brutal murders for the sole objective of “disturbing public peace and tranquillity and creating a reign of terror in the public mind”.
The MHA has also mentioned “international linkages of PFI with Global Terrorist Groups”, and that some of the outfit activists have joined the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and participated in terror activities in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Some of these PFI cadres linked to ISIS have been killed in these conflict theatres, and State Police and Central Agencies have arrested some, the PFI has linkages with Jamat-ul-Muyahideen Bangladesh (JMB), a proscribed terrorist organization”.