NIA refutes news reports that it found 873 Kerala police personnel were PFI sympathisers

A top NIA official told South First the reports were baseless. Kerala police said NIA had not given it any list of sympathisers in the force.

ByK A Shaji

Published Oct 05, 2022 | 12:26 AMUpdatedOct 05, 2022 | 11:36 AM

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan being escorted by police officials in Thiruvananthapuram. (South First)

Hours after some prominent media organisations cited sources in the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to claim that 873 personnel of Kerala police maintained active links with the banned radical Islamic outfit Popular Front of India (PFI), the central agency on Tuesday, 4 October, denied the “shocking disclosure” as baseless.

On its part, the Kerala police clarified that the NIA has not handed over any list of alleged PFI sympathisers in the force to the state police chief, as reported by media organisations like the Malayala Manorama, Mathrubhumi, The Statesman, Zee News and Dainik Bhaskar.

When South First contacted a top NIA official in Kochi, he responded by saying that the media reports were false. In a press release, VP Pramod Kumar, deputy director of State Media Centre under Kerala police, termed the news as fabricated.

Tweets deleted

The turn of events prompted Chennai-based columnist Anand Ranganathan to delete his anxious tweets over the clout enjoyed by the banned PFI in the Kerala police. His evening tweet went like this:

Update: @NIA_India just called me, and informed me that the reports I have quoted, from @TheStatesmanLtd, @mathrubhumi, @ZeeNews, and @DainikBhaskar, are incorrect.

Although none of these reports have been retracted, I trust the NIA. I am therefore deleting my tweets. WDTT

He later deleted this tweet as well.

Quoting Anand, the right wing OpIndia portal, too, put out a news story stating that the NIA refuted the media reports. Curiously, none of the mainstream media which carried the news withdrew the published item saying it was based on wrong information.

What the earlier reports said

According to the reports that appeared on Tuesday morning,  several police officials in the sub-inspector and Station Head Officer ranks, other than civil police personnel, were under the scanner of the central agency for their alleged PFI links.

The reports added that the NIA collected details of these officers and their financial dealings.

“The NIA list includes personnel belonging to the Special Branch, Intelligence, Law and Order wings and those entrusted with the office works of top Kerala Police officers,” said the reports, quoting sources.

As per the reports, the primary charge against them was that they leaked information, including the moves of the state police, especially regarding raids the on PFI leaders and cadres.

The news reports also quoted an incident from last February in which a Civil Police Officer attached to Karimannoor police station in Thodupuzha was terminated from service for allegedly leaking details of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leaders to the PFI.

Three police personnel, including a sub-inspector, were transferred from Munnar police station on similar charges.