The National Investigating Agency on Thursday searched a total of 20 locations in Kumbakonam, Thanjavur, Trichy and Karaikal in connection with the murder of PMK man Ramalingam on February 5. The agency in addition to seizing digital devices, weapons and cash, has also allegedly found evidence suggesting that some men accused in the case were supporters of terror group ISIS.
According to an NIA press release, searches were conducted in the houses of the 10 arrested accused, 6 absconding accused persons and four offices of PFI. During searches, a number of digital devices including 16 mobile phones, 21 SIM cards, 3 laptops, 9 hard discs, 7 memory cards, 118 CDs/DVDs, 1 Tab, 7 diaries, 2 PFI banners and 1 DVR were seized. Besides this, a sword, a sharp edged knife and cash upto Rs 2 Lakhs were recovered from 3 different houses. 100 'incriminating documents' have also been seized said the press release.
"The agency found several pamphlets of the terror group and posts made via the mobile phone in connection to the ISIS. The model of assault on Ramalingam is in line with the Sharia law that believes in 'eye for an eye'," Public Prosecutor for NIA cases, CSS Pillai told TNM. "The first tussle where Ramalingam smeared ash on people's foreheads in an act against conversion happened at around 8am. His hands which were used for the act were chopped off in the night. So it wasn't an act of rage but a calculated attack. Investigators have found that the PFI consists supporters of ISIS and have identified material to show that they are promoting the terror group's activities," he adds.
In February, Ramalingam a resident of Kumbakonam questioned a group of Muslim men about religious conversion in a Dalit colony in the vicinity. In a heated verbal exchange that followed Ramalingam smeared ash on one of the persons and removed his skull cap. The issue was sorted out by the Muslim clerics in the afternoon but later that night, a group of assailants chopped off Ramalingam's hands, ultimately leading to his death. Following this, the local police conducted a series of arrests, amongst whom was Nizam, a member of PFI.
"All digital evidence and material seized has currently been sent for forensic analysis. It is regrettable that they would stand on Indian soil and pose a threat to the country's sovereignty," says the Public prosecutor.