NIA arrests 'hit team’ head of banned PFI for BJP youth leader's murder in b'lurutext_fields
New Delhi: Former district secretary of banned Popular Front of India (PFI) Thufail M H was arrested in connection with the murder of a BJP Yuva Morcha leader in Karnataka last year, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) said on Sunday.
Thufail, also a service team ('Hit team') member in the killing of Praveen Nettaru, was absconding and arrested from his hideout in Bengaluru, a spokesperson of the NIA said.
“After painstakingly pursuing and developing leads from various sources, a team managed to hole out and overpower absconder Thufail from his hideout in Amaruthahalli area of Bengaluru city late last night,” the official said.
The NIA said Thufail was wanted in the murder case of Nettaru, who was murdered allegedly by PFI cadres in July 2022 in Bellare village of Sullia Taluk in Dakshina Kannada district.
In January, NIA had filed a charge sheet before a special court in Bengaluru against 20 persons, including six absconding accused.
“Thufail had played a significant role in PFI's larger conspiracy to murder leaders of a particular community. He also provided shelter and safe harbour at Ashiyana residency of Koppa village to the three assailants who had recced and then hacked Nettaru to death,” the spokesperson said.
Praveen’s murder had led to massive unrest in the state. He was killed in front of his broiler shop in Bellare by three bike-borne people while he was on his way home.
It later came to light that Praveen had shared a post on social media supporting Kanhaiyalal, the tailor beheaded in Rajasthan’s Udaipur, who was in support of the suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma.
Nupur Sharma made derogatory remarks against Prophet Mohammed on television, which led to widespread protests across the country as well as grabbed international attention.
The murder case was handed over to the NIA by the Karnataka government, noting it was an "organised crime" with inter-state links.
Thufail is also accused in two other cases related to the murder of Prashanth Poojari in Kushalnagar Rural in 2016 and attempt to murder VHP leader Ganesh in Madikeri Rural in 2012, the official said.
With inputs from PTI