PFI-linked accounts received over Rs. 120 crore: ED tells court
Speaking before a special court in Lucknow, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) said the Popular Front of India (PFI) had received over Rs. 120 crore in its accounts and of its related entities over the years for unlawful activities. The ED told the court that the accused planned to form a terrorist gang to cause disturbance during PM Narendra Modi's visit in Patna in July.
Why does this story matter?
- The National Investigation Agency (NIA) along with the ED and police carried out raids at the premises linked to the PFI across 15 states and arrested 106 of its leaders on Thursday on charges of money laundering and promoting terrorism.
- The PFI is reportedly an extremist Islamic organization, founded by members of the banned terrorist organization Students' Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).
Large part of Rs. 120 crore were cash deposits
The ED in it's remand application said that it was probing the PFI and related entities under sections of PMLA based on the cases filed by the NIA. The investigating officer said that a large part of the money deposited into the accounts related to PFI were cash deposits and they engaged in a criminal conspiracy by raising funds from India and abroad.
ED connects case to Delhi riots, Hathras
Linking the case to the February 2020 Delhi riots and the Hathras rape case, the officer said that the members of PFI and Campus Front of India (CFI) visited the respective sites to spread communal divide and cause riots. The group was involved in collecting weapons and explosives to launch attacks on several important figures and places in Uttar Pradesh, he said.
Had literature with posing threat to unity, integrity
The remand application states that the PFI members had prepared, printed and disseminated "incriminating literature which had the potential to pose a threat to the unity, integrity and sovereignty of the nation." The officer said that CFI general secretary as well as a PFI member, KA Rauf Sherif had conspired to fraudulently transfer Rs. 1.36 crore disguised as payment for goods.
Were headed to Hathras to disturb communal harmony
The ED arrested PFI leader Muhammed Shafeeque Payeth from Kozhikode in Kerala early on Thursday. Rauf allegedly told investigators that Payeth was a PFI member in Qatar and was the one to send the money. After this, Rauf, Delhi-based journalist Siddique Kappan, and two others were headed to Hathras to disturb communal harmony in October 2020 when UP Police arrested them.
NIA gets custody until September 30
Meanwhile, a special court in Kochi, Kerala granted the custody of 11 PFI functionaries — arrested on Thursday — to NIA till September 30. The NIA alleged that the PFI encouraged youths to join global terrorist organizations like Lashkar-e-Taiba, Islamic State (IS) and Al-Qaeda. It said the PFI organized camps to impart training to youths to commit terrorist acts.