The Navi Mumbai Police arrested a 68-year-old man earlier this week for allegedly planting notes hailing the banned Popular Front of India outside flats in a bid to settle scores with a group of flat owners.

On June 23, some residents of the Nil Angan Cooperative Housing Society in New Panvel’s Sector 19 noticed handwritten notes saying “PFI Zindabad” stuck near the doorbells of some flats. The Popular Front of India is an Islamic organisation that was banned for five years in September under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in connection with alleged terror activities.

A resident of the building had also found two notes with the number “786” and two firecrackers often used during Diwali outside the doors of some homes, according to Mid Day. Some residents then approached the police in connection with the matter.

The Khandeshwar police in Navi Mumbai alleged that the secretary of the housing society, Eknath Kawde, planted the notes outside some flats after he had a dispute with the flat owners. One of the flat owners, a Hindu, had rented the house to a Muslim family, and Kawde allegedly wanted to implicate them.

Most residents of the housing society are Hindus.

A handwritten note hailing the Popular Front of India at a housing society in New Panvel. Credit: Special Arrangement

Police Inspector Chandrakant Landge told Scroll that Kawde was arrested on June 28 under Section 153 of the Indian Penal Code, which deals with giving provocation with the intent to cause rioting. “He is in our custody,” Landge said.

“He [Kawde] had an intention to cause trouble,” the police said in a press note. “He has confessed to the crime and legal action will be taken.”

The police said that after residents of the building approached them, they formed four teams for investigation, and questioned the flat owners and tenants. During the investigation, Kawde allegedly told the police that the notes may have been placed on the doors by the Muslim family or visitors at their home.

He had also expressed suspicions about some other flat owners with whom he had disputes.

The police scrutinised close-circuit television footage from the second floor and terrace of the building, and saw Kawde making multiple trips to the terrace. Officials questioned him about his “suspicious movements”, after which he confessed to his actions, the police said.