Siddique Kappan closely connected with PFI leadership; used to work for Org in Saudi Arabia espousing terror: UP Govt tells Supreme Court

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UP government has stated that the investigation in the Hathras conspiracy case revealed not only Kappan's close links with PFI but also his earlier employment in Saudi Arabia with “Gulf Thejas Daily”, which espouses terrorist causes.

The State Government of Uttar Pradesh has opposed the bail plea moved by UAPA accused Siddique Kappan before the Supreme Court while stating that the investigation in the Hathras conspiracy case has revealed Kappan's deep link with the Popular Front of India (PFI), an extremist organisation. 

In the Statement of Objections, sworn to by the Deputy SP, STF Unit Agra, Uttar Pradesh, the Investigating Officer in the Hathras conspiracy case, it has been stated that during the investigation a close nexus and deep connection of Kappan with the top leadership of PFI and its student wing CFI (Campus Front of India) was found. 

As per the affidavit, CFI in turn has been found to have connections with Al Qaeda-linked organizations like IHH in Turkey. Though PFI has not been banned countrywide, it has been declared an illegal organization and SIMI (Students Islamic Movement of India) is banned as a terrorist organization in India. 

The affidavit of the state government further submits that a clear prima facie case against Kappan under Section 17/18 the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) has been established therefore, the High Court was right in denying Kappan bail.

"High Court has meticulously considered the chargesheet, case diaries and evidences against the Petitioner before finding a prima facie case is made out and only then rightly refused bail," it reads. 

Furthermore, alleging that the accused in the instant case are well aware of how to make use of legal loopholes to frustrate the criminal process, the UP government has opposed Kappan's release arguing that the trial is only at the stage of framing of charges and if released, Kappan may cause a grave and credible threat to the lives of the witnesses.

The State Government has placed the following findings of the investigation before the top court:

  • Investigation revealed Kappan's deep link with PFI.
  • SIMI-related documents were recovered from Kappan's laptop and his rented house in Delhi.
  • Police also found Whatsapp chats between P Koya (ex-SIMI member, PFI Executive member, and Editor in Chief of Thejas) and Kappan pertaining to stories that could spread communal tensions, foment riots and terror.
  • Kappan was employed in Saudi Arabia with “Gulf Thejas Daily”, Jeddah from 2009 onwards which espouses terrorist causes.
  • When Kappan was detained, 4 IDs were seized from him, 2 of which were of Thejas Daily, 1 was of the Delhi Union of Journalists and 1 was a card of Press Club of India.
  • At the time of arrest, he was traveling with persons who were named accused in previous riots namely Atik – ur – Rahman, National treasurer of CFI (Campus Front of India, the student wing of PFI), Masood Ahmad, former General Secretary of Delhi chapter of CFI.
  • Kappan was part of the PFI/CFI delegation sent to Hathras on the directions of co-accused Rauf Sharif (National General Secretary, CFI, prime fundraiser and financial transaction handler for PFI/CFI), to meet the family of the Hathras gang rape victim and foment discord and spread terror.
  • The 17-page pamphlets that were recovered from the car ferrying Kappan and others to Hathras demonstrated that it was nothing more than a “Rioting 101” for rioters, teaching them how to, inter alia, conceal themselves from the police, which “riots” to attend, to “recognize the place you are rioting in”.
  • Kappan failed to explain and contradicted himself on the source of the cash deposits of Rs. 45000 made in his account in September – October 2020, which have been stated by the other co-accused to have been deposited by PFI members in furtherance of conspiracy to carry out terrorist acts at the behest of the terrorist gang PFI.
  • One of Kappan's close associates Ansad Badruddin along with one Firoz (both co-accused) were arrested in Lucknow with explosives.

As per the affidavit, ‘Thejas’ is a Malayalam language mouthpiece of the extremist organization Popular Front of India (PFI) with six editions in Kerala and international bureaus in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain. The publication 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.

Kappan moved the top court with his bail plea after it was rejected by the Allahabad High Court on August 2. The High Court had dismissed Kappan's bail application on the ground that a prima facie case was established against him. "The tainted money being used by the applicant and his colleagues cannot be ruled out," the high court had held. 

The top court will hear Kappan's bail plea for final disposal on September 9.

Kappan was arrested in October 2020 in the alleged 'Hathras conspiracy' case while he was en route to meet the family of the victim in Hathars gang rape. Allegedly Kappan intended to disturb harmony in Hathras in collusion with the other co-accused, funded by the Popular Front of India (PFI).