CFI national gen secy Rauf Sherif received over Rs 1.36 cr from foreign nationals: ED

K.A. Rauf Sherif, the national general secretary of the Campus Front of India (PFI), the student wing of Popular Front of India (PFI), received more than Rs 1.36 crore from the members of the group residing abroad, an Enforcement Directorate (ED) investigation has revealed.

The ED charge sheet, filed in February this year at a Special PMLA court, viewed by IANS, revealed that Rs 1.36 crore were received by Sherif.

It said, “Sherif received Rs 28.36 lakh from Noufal Shareef, a PFI member, Rs 21 lakh from Muhammed Shafeeque Payeth, Rs 19.73 lakh from Qatar’s Doha through Shamnad, Rs 11.34 lakh from Muhammed Fasil Bashir, Rs 10.25 lakh from Munawar on behalf of Shamnad, Rs 10.22 lakh from Muhammedon behalf of Shamnad, Rs 9.22 lakh from Razick on behalf of Shamnad, Rs 8.91 lakh from Stefy Haneefa on behalf of Shamnad, Rs 5.15 lakh from Shajeel Mansoor Thangai on behalf of Shamnad, Rs 4.92 lakh from Ramiz Ali Prabath, a partner of Noufal and Rs 7 lakh from Thejas Travels.”

The ED claimed that foreign remittances worth Rs 29.18 lakh into the bank account of Sherif were mentioned as “payments to hotels by nationals of FATF complaint countries or NRIs for their stay”.

The charge sheet claimed, “This purpose looked suspicious as it implied that Sherif either owned a hotel in India or in Oman for which payments were made by Noufal and Ramiz for stay even though hotels were not operational during the period of April to June 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The ED charge sheet also alleged that Sherif, who is also a member of Campus Front of India (CFI) has credit and debit of over Rs 67 lakh in another bank account during 2019-20.

It said that Sherif’s separate bank accounts have inward remittances of Rs 19.7 lakh from Doha during May and October 2020 and cash withdrawal of around Rs 16 lakh.

The ED also claimed that Sherif has evaded financial probe summons on multiple occasions and also tried to flee the country.

Sherif was arrested on December 12 last year at the Thiruvananthpuram airport while he was trying to flee to Oman.

The ED further alleged that during his questioning after his arrest, Sherif did not divulge any details about his foreign remittances or about his role in the purported visit of CFI members to Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras.

The agency also alleged that Sherif remained evasive and vague in his responses and did not cooperate with the investigation.

The ED claimed that Sherif was avoiding appearing before the agency fearing that his role in the offence of money laundering could be unravelled.

It said that he received foreign remittance in his bank account during the Covid-19 lockdown period during which he was not working at his workplace in Oman and was residing in India.

“The nature and purpose of these bank transactions were suspicious and the same appeared to be proceeds of crime. In relation to the case of arrest made by UP Police as well, funds were transferred by Sherif on the bank account of Atikur Rehman, national treasurer of CFI to visit Hathras with other PFI or CFI members with an attempt to disturb social harmony and to incite communal riots,” the ED said.

It also said that there was “no bank account” of CFI and all transactions were done from the bank account of Sherif.

The ED said that on the basis of revelations made and material found in Sherif’s possession it became evident that he indulged in the process and activity connected to proceeds of crime including his concealment, possession, acquisition and use of the proceeds of crime.

The ED also claimed that during ED’s interrogation, Sherif further revealed that in addition to the amount of Rs 50 lakh that he had received in his bank accounts as foreign remittances, he had also received amount of Rs 40 to 50 lakh in the form of foreign remittances.

“He, however, could not give any satisfactory explanations for receiving the said amount. The foreign remittances received by Sherif appeared to be highly suspicious and seems to have been routed to his bank account disguised as payments related to international trade,” it said.

The ED charge sheet also alleged that the ‘proceeds of crime’ amounting to around Rs 1.36 crore were obtained as a result of criminal activity relating to the offence of criminal conspiracy and part of it was used by PFI/CFI office bearers or members or activists in India for their continuous unlawful activities which included, but were not limited to, funding of anti-CAA protests, inciting violence and fomenting trouble which led to the Delhi riots in February, 2020.

However, during the course of investigation later, Sherif during his questioning in December in his statement to the ED sleuths stated that he received money from foreign countries as he was supplying “face masks” from China to Qatar and other gulf countries during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sherif was granted bail by a Special Court for Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in Kochi in February this year.

The ED case was primarily registered in 2018, taking the 2013 Narath PFI armed training case as the predicate offence. Later, the case registered by the UP Police against Siddique Kappan and three others last year was included as part of the money laundering case against PFI.

(Anand Singh can be contacted at