NIA raids draw a blank in three TN towns

NIA raids draw a blank in three TN towns

S Murari

The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is probing the alleged raising of funds for setting up Islamic State (IS) in India after the arrest and deportation of 14 Indians from the U.A.E., on Saturday launched searches at the houses of five of them who hailed southern Ramanathapuram, Tirunelvei and Madruai, but drew a blank.

After getting necessary logistical support from the district police and administration, sleuths of the agency launched simultaneous searches at the palatial houses of four accused in Kilakarai and one accused at Thanichiyam in coastal Valinokkam with the local police and revenue officials.

Five separate teams launched the searches at 6 a.m. at the houses of four accused — A. Rafi Ahamed, 55, J.M. Jafarullah Khan, 40, I.M. Sahul Hameed, 41, and U. Faisal Sherif, 44, — at East Street, Kilakarai. Only watchmen were present at the houses as the accused had been staying in the U.A.E. for long and had not visited the houses for almost two years, police sources said.

The searches, which lasted for about four hours, did not yield much, the sources said. The sleuths ended up seizing some school certificates, copies of driving licences and other ‘insignificant’ documents. Rafi Ahamed owned a palatial house with a swimming pool and had not visited the house for the past two years, the sources said, adding the other three accused were his relatives and were also wealthy.

In contrast, S. Farook, the fifth accused at Valinokkam, lived in a poor condition in a tiled roof house, the police said. Farook’s parents, wife, six-month-old baby and mentally deranged sister were living in the house. The NIA sleuths searched the house, accompanied by the local Village Administrative Officer. His father worked as a tea master in Erwadi after his elder brother got married and settled in Sitharkottai, police sources said.

A Deputy Superintendent of Police, NIA, supervised the search operations. The teams are likely to stay back and collect details of those who were in regular and close contact with the accused and check their antecedents, the sources said. The NIA personnel met Collector K. Veera Raghava Rao and Superintendent of Police Omprakash Meena on Friday and secured logistical support.

In Madurai, a team of NIA sleuths searched the house of M. Mohamed Sheik Maitheen, 40, in Narimedu and that of his in-laws at Nelpettai in Madurai city on Saturday. Sources said that the sleuths questioned Maitheen’s mother and wife. Maitheen is one of the accused arrested in the Ansurallah case.Only a few ‘insignificant’ documents were seized, said sources.