ED asks PFI, 8 sister groups to join money laundering probe

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New Delhi, Jan 28 (IANS) The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has served notices to the Popular Front of India (PFI) and its eight sister organisations located in Delhi, particularly in Shaheen Bagh, to join the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) probe.

Notices have also been served to the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) — PFI’s political front– the National Confederation of Human Rights and the Rehab Indian Foundation.

It has been alleged the PFI sponsored protests over the new citizenship law (CAA) and also indulged into money laundering.

The agency, which is probing the PFI under the PMLA since 2018, has found that Rs 120 crore was deposited in bank accounts in western UP after the CAA was passed by Parliament last year.

The ED source said it was suspected that the funds were used by the PFI affiliates to fuel protests over the CAA in various parts of the country. The agency claimed to have identified the PFI’s 73 bank accounts and money trail Rs 120 crore for the anti-CAA and anti-NRC agitation.

The bank accounts with huge transactions were detected in the last two months, sources said. “The ED has been keeping a close tab on the 27 bank accounts of PFI, nine bank accounts of RFI, 37 individuals and entities in 17 different banks,” said an official.

“During the probe it was found the money transfer into these accounts were either done by cash deposit or NEFT/RTGS/IMPS. The amounts were withdrawn on the same day or within two-three days, leaving behind only minimal amount,” the source said.

According to the source, senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal received Rs 77 lakh, lawyer Indira Jaising Rs 4 lakh, senior advocate Dushyant Dave Rs 11 lakh and Abdul Samad Rs 3.10 lakh.

After violent protests over the CAA and the NRC in UP last month, the state police sought a ban on the PFI, suspecting its complicity with the stir. Nearly 20 people were killed in these protests in UP.

An FIR by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and chargesheet against the PFI formed the basis for the ED to file a PMLA case against it. The PFI was formed in 2006 in Kerala as a successor to the National Democratic Front (NDF).

–IANS

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