New Delhi: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) with the support of Bihar Police has arrested the 13th accused in Bihar's Phulwarisharif Popular Front of India (PFI) case, the agency said on Sunday.

Close on the heels of unearthing the hawala network in South India and the arrest of five PFI operatives on March 2023, the NIA arrested the 13th accused identified as Md. Irshad Alam of Mehsi in Bihar's East Champaran on Saturday.

This case was registered in July last year when four accused persons were arrested as they gathered in the Phulwarisharif area of Bihar's capital city Patna for training and to carry out acts of terror and violence. Three more were arrested in February this year.

NIA said that the PFI cadres in Phulwarisharif and Motihari had vowed to continue activities of the banned outfit in a clandestine manner in Bihar and had also arranged a firearm and ammunition recently to eliminate a youth of a particular community in Bihar's East Champaran district.

Alam was in close association with accused Yakub Khan alias Usman alias Sultan, a Physical Education Trainer of PFI, said the agency, adding "Yakub had posted incriminating videos on social media to spread communal flare-up."

Subsequently, the NIA said, Yakub along with Alam and other associates, had planned to execute a targeted killing and a recce was conducted with the help of Irshad to carry out the attack.

"A firearm and ammunition were also arranged by Yakub with the help of other arrested accused," said the NIA.

With the arrest of Alam, the number of accused arrested in the case has gone up to 13, said the NIA. Earlier, in January this year, the agency filed a charge sheet against four accused persons.

Pursuing investigational leads, the NIA said it found that despite the ban imposed on the PFI on September 27 last year, the leaders and cadres of the outfit continued to propagate the ideology of violent extremism and were also arranging arms and ammunition to commit crimes.