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Wednesday, Nov 30, 2022

Rs 120 crore in bank deposits of PFI and linked entities: ED

Agency tells court about PFI visit to Hathras, brings up Kappan link

Kochi: Popular Front of India (PFI) members after being produced before court following a nationwide raid spearheaded by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Thursday, in Kochi, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022. (PTI Photo)

Hours after it arrested Muhammed Shafeeque Payeth, a leader of the Popular Front of India, from Kozhikode in Kerala, the Enforcement Directorate told a special PMLA court in Lucknow that probes revealed that Rs 120 crore, mostly cash, was deposited over the years in accounts of PFI and related entities and these organisations had been collecting funds for unlawful activities.

In its remand application, the ED told the court that the accused had even planned to form a terrorist gang with the intent to cause disturbance during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Patna on July 12 this year.

In the remand application, the investigation officer said the ED had been conducting investigation against the PFI, its related individuals/entities under the PMLA on the basis of cases registered by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and other law enforcement agencies.

“Payeth was arrested at 5.35 am on September 22 from his flat in Kozhikode. These cases of the predicate agencies pertain to unlawful activities carried out by PFI and its related individuals/organisations to indulge in criminal conspiracy with an intent to disturb communal harmony, spread terror, incite communal riots, impart training to their cadre to use explosives and weapons, form a terrorist gang and collect deadly weapons and explosive devices to simultaneously launch attacks on many important persons and sensitive locations,” the IO stated.

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“Their investigation under PMLA has so far revealed that more than Rs 120 crore have been deposited in the accounts of PFI and related entities over the years, and that a very a large part of the same has been deposited in cash. Investigations have further established that the criminal conspiracy of the PFI in raising/collecting funds through unknown and suspicious sources from within the country as well as abroad,” the IO said.

“The subsequent transfer, layering and integration of such funds for eventful use in their continuous unlawful activities over time, which include but are not limited to inciting violence and fomenting trouble leading to Delhi riots of February 2020, visit of PFI/CFI members to Hathras with an intent to disturb communal harmony, inciting communal riots and spreading terror, plan to form a terrorist gang – collecting of deadly weapons and explosive devices to simultaneously launch attacks on many important persons and sensitive places in Uttar Pradesh with an intent to undermine the unity, integrity and sovereignty of the nation and to disturb communal harmony, organising training camp with an intent to cause disturbance during PM Modi’s visit in Patna, preparing, printing and possessing incriminating literature having potential to pose threat to the unity, integrity and sovereignty of the nation,” the application stated.

The IO also mentioned the visit of PFI and CFI members to Hathras in UP with an intent to disturb communal harmony, and inciting communal riots. “In the Hathras case, the investigation of which was conducted within the ambit of the ongoing PMLA investigation of PFI and related individuals, probe revealed that K A Rauf Sherif, a PFI member and national general secretary of CFI, entered into a criminal conspiracy with PFI/CFI members abroad to fraudulently transfer Rs 1.36 crore from abroad in the guise of payments related to international trade of good,” the IO said.

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“Rauf disclosed that Payeth was a PFI member in Qatar and funds were transferred by him (Payeth), which was received by Rauf and his associates. Four associates, including Delhi-based journalist Siddique Kappan, of Rauf were travelling to Hathras to disturb communal harmony and they were arrested by the UP police,” the IO said.

Launching a multi-agency operation spearheaded by the NIA, law enforcement agencies conducted searches across the country Thursday and arrested over 100 workers of the PFI, including its chairman O M A Salam, for their alleged support to terror activities. Officials said the searches were conducted almost simultaneously in 15 states by the NIA, Enforcement Directorate and state police forces.

In a remand application before a special NIA court in Kerala for custody of Karamana Ashraf Moulavi, national in-charge of the PFI’s education wing and others, the NIA said that the PFI, its office bearers, members and affiliates in Kerala have conspired to indulge in unlawful activities by encouraging vulnerable youths to join terrorist organisations including Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS)/Daesh and Al-Qaida, and also conspired to establish Islamic rule in India by committing terrorist acts as part of violent jihad.

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The case is being investigated by the NIA’s Kochi branch. “PFI also spreads disaffection against India by wrongful interpretation of government policies to the particular section of people to create hatred against the state and its machineries. After obtaining search warrants, searches were conducted at the residential premises and the offices of PFI. During raids, various articles/documents, including a list of targeting prominent leaders of a particular community,” the application stated.

First published on: 25-09-2022 at 03:58:33 am
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