Massive ED action against PFI, 33 total bank accounts & Rs.68 lakh attached in PMLA case
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has provisionally attached 23 bank accounts of the Islamic radical Popular Front of India (PFI) having a collective balance of Rs.59,12,051 and 10 bank accounts of PFI’s front organization Rehab India Foundation (RIF) having a collective balance of Rs.9,50,030 in the ongoing money laundering investigation against the outfit and frontal organizations. A total amount of Rs.68,62,081 has been provisionally attached under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, the ED said in a statement.
The anti-money laundering agency said that from 2009, PFI and RIF have collected more than Rs.90 crores through these bank accounts. “The ED investigation has revealed that huge amounts of money including cash from questionable sources have been received by PFI and RFI. An amount of more than Rs.60 crore has been deposited in the accounts of PFI which includes cash deposits of more than Rs.30 crore since 2009. Similarly, around Rs.58 crore have been deposited in the accounts of RIF since 2010,” said the agency.
A few weeks back ED has charge-sheeted two persons for routing money through Abhu Dhabi-based restaurant Hotel Darbar for creating communal tensions in Uttar Pradesh.
The ED investigation also revealed that PFI was covertly mobilizing funds through the well-organized network in Gulf countries as part of a criminal conspiracy and these proceeds of crime were secretly and clandestinely sent to India through underground and illegal channels and by way of foreign remittances into the bank accounts of sympathizers/ office bearers/ members and their relatives/ associates in India. Thereafter, these funds were transferred to the bank accounts of PFI, RIF, and other individuals/ entities.
“In this way, the proceeds of crime have been placed, layered, and integrated and therefore projected as untainted money in the bank accounts of PFI as well as RIF. This has been done as a part of a larger criminal conspiracy of PFI and its related entities to raise funds within the country and abroad to carry out various unlawful activities which have resulted in the registration of numerous FIRs/ complaints against them for the commission of scheduled offences over time and the filing of chargesheets and conviction of its members/ office-bearers,” it said.
The ED has already filed a Prosecution Complaint (charge sheet) on February 6, 2021, and a Supplementary Prosecution Complaint on May 6, 2022, against members/ office-bearers of PFI and Campus Front of India before the Special PMLA Court, Lucknow. The Court has taken cognizance of the offence of money laundering against all the accused persons.
The Enforcement Directorate unearthed the money laundering activity by PFI after Uttar Pradesh Police arrested Siddique Kappan, who works in the garb of journalism. Kappan was Delhi Bureau Chief of PFI’s newspaper ‘Tejas” (now defunct). He stays in the PFI office in Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh and was arrested in October 2020 along with three PFI workers.
The ED has been investigating the PFI’s “financial links” on charges of fuelling the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protests in the country, and the Delhi riots that took place in February 2020. The controversial Islamist organization was formed in 2006 in Kerala and is headquartered in Delhi.
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