UP opposes Siddique Kappan bail plea, tells SC: He is PFI assume tank, suggested hit squad

Opposing Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan’s bail plea, the Uttar Pradesh Police that arrested him beneath the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act-1967 has informed the Supreme Court that “investigation has revealed that petitioner is the think tank of PFI (Popular Front of India)” and had even “advised” one of many two PFI “hit squad” members arrested with explosives in Lucknow in February final yr.

In an affidavit filed within the high courtroom in response to a discover on Kappan’s plea on August 29, the UP Police Special Task Force (STF), which is investigating the case, stated that Ansad Badruddin, “a close associate” of Kappan, and “one Firoz (both co-accused) were arrested in Lucknow with explosives”, including, they have been the “hit squad” of the PFI who have been funded by Rauf Sharif (nationwide basic secretary of CFI, PFI’s scholar wing) and Kamal Ok P, and have been suggested by the petitioner who was the “think tank” of the PFI, and had “directed them to target Hindu organisations…”

The Enforcement Directorate, it claimed, “has found Sharif to be the main fundraiser and money launderer of the CFI, which utilised Sharif’s account…lakhs [rupees] of money was transferred to Sharif’s account from abroad and then funneled into illegal and terrorist activities in India. Interrogations of Sharif detailed the entire money trail; how it was laundered and what terrorist/unlawful acts it was used towards. One such money trail was the money transferred to co-accused Atiq-ur-Rahman to hire the cab to take the CFI delegation to Hathras on 05.10.2020”.

Kappan and three others, together with the driving force of their car, have been arrested in Mathura on October 5, 2020, whereas they have been on their technique to Hathras, the place a Dalit lady had died after she was allegedly gangraped. They have been booked beneath the UAPA and on prices of sedition.

Kappan had claimed that he was employed with an online portal ‘Azhimukham’ which had “deputed” him to go to Hathras to report on the incident, however the STF sought to contradict him, saying, “the statement of the Editor of Azhimukham…nowhere states that the said publication had deputed the petitioner to cover the Hathras incident; it merely states that the petitioner had at 12.10am on 5.10.2022, sent the office a WhatsApp message that he is going to Hathras”.

It added that “moreover, the official Twitter handle of the CFI had tweeted in February 2021: “Campus Front Delegation was arrested earlier en route to Hathras and falsely charged with draconian laws…”

The STF additionally accused him of suppressing details in his bail plea.

Kappan, it stated, had said he was “employed” in Saudi Arabia from 2002-2011, and that he had give up the job in 2011 and returned to Kerala the place he “opted to join as a sub-editor of Thejas newspaper at Kozhikode”, however had not revealed that in Saudi too, “he was a reporter for Gulf Thejas Daily, Jeddah…”

It stated that “Thejas is a Malayalam language mouthpiece of the PFI…” and “was compelled to shut down in India in 2018 amidst reports (including by a Kerala High Court-appointed independent committee) that the paper’s coverage was aimed at creating religious discord”.

The STF stated opposite to Kappan’s declare that he was not carrying any id card of Thejas, however solely his Press Club of India card when arrested, “four IDs were seized from him, two of which were of Thejas Daily, one was of the Delhi Union of Journalists (which itself noted the petitioner’s organisation to be Thejas Daily) and one was a card of Press Club of India”.

Kappan, it stated, “has conveniently brushed over the fact that when he was arrested, he was travelling with persons who were named as accused in previous riots cases…if Kappan was in fact a journalist exercising his professional duties as claimed, why would he be traveling with known riots accused persons”. The affidavit stated he had not been capable of satisfactorily clarify this.

The STF stated it has come out within the investigation that he “was actually part of the PFI/CFI delegation to meet the family of the Hathras victim and foment discord and spread terror. Investigation has revealed that the said delegation was sent to Hathras on the directions of co-accused Rauf Sharif, who had also provided finances for the trip”.

The STF stated that it seized three-sets of a 17-page pamphlet from the automobile wherein Kappan and others have been travelling. “A perusal of the pamphlet would demonstrate that it is nothing more than a ‘Rioting 101’ for rioters”, instructing them how you can, inter alia, conceal themselves from the police, which riots to attend, to “recognise the place you are rioting in”.

The affidavit additionally disputed Kappan’s declare about cash present in his account. It identified that he claimed that Rs 25,000 deposited in his account on September 15, 2020, “was money deposited by him which he had saved to construct a house” and that Rs 20,000 deposited on October 4, 2020, “was money that had been borrowed by friends and returned to him”.

“However, in his supplementary rejoinder before the High Court (which rejected his bail plea), the petitioner states that “the alleged payments made to the applicant are relating to his salary paid for working at Thejas Daily,” the STF affidavit stated, including “thus, there is a clear contradiction in the petitioner’s own version of the source of the said funds”.

The STF additionally stated there are as many as 55 witnesses, together with 11 public witnesses to be examined within the case and that “there is a grave and credible threat to the lives of these witnesses, who are already being targeted and trolled online for giving evidence against the petitioner”.

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