‘Cheap campaign’: PFI tells govt to prove charge that it funds CAA protests
ED officials, requesting anonymity, had insisted that they did submit the note to the Home Ministry that is examining a request by UP Police to ban the group under India’s anti-terror law.Updated: Jan 27, 2020, 17:17 IST
Popular Front of India, a group that has been accused of funding protests against the amended citizenship law, on Monday countered a fresh attempt by the central government’s Enforcement Directorate to link the organisation to the anti-CAA protests in parts of the country.
An unsigned note by the ED that found its way to social media had alleged the PFI had mobilised money to fund the protests and the ED had tracked bank accounts to back this charge. The ED note had also named some senior lawyers including Kapil Sibal and Dushyant Dave as recipients of the funds.
ED officials, requesting anonymity, had insisted that they did submit the note to the Home Ministry that is examining a request by UP Police to ban the group under India’s anti-terror law.
A home ministry dossier accessed earlier by HT describes PFI as a successor to the banned SIMI, and says it is defined largely by the radical Islamic ideology of its progenitor. This dossier had also alleged that PFI received significant funding through multiple front organisations in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman.
In a rebuttal issued soon after the ED note emerged on Monday, PFI general secretary Mohammed Ali Jinnah rejected the ED’s effort to link the group to the protests as “totally baseless”.
On the charge that crores of rupees had been channeled through 73 bank accounts, the group said it was fully compliant with all the laws. The allegation that crores were transferred from the Popular Front’s accounts just before the CAA protest “is totally baseless and the people who are leveling these allegations should prove these claims”.
Mohd Ali Jinnah also dissed the ED for its claims that the group had transferred money to senior lawyers such as Dushyant Dave around the time of the protests.
“The truth is that transfers were made in 2017 as a lawyer fees for these advocates for the Hadiya Case. This transfer was openly declared by Popular Front in various public meetings. Attributing a fees transfer that happened in 2017 as a funding for 2019 CAA protest is totally absurd and exposes the intention to defame Popular Front,” the statement said.
Dushyant Davel made a similar point in his rebuttal, underlining that the only case that he could recollect where a muslim organisation was involved was Kerala’s Hadiya case “where ultimately the Supreme Court was embarassed after ordering NIA investigation when she said I want to be with my husband”.
Indira Jaising, who according to the note had been given Rs 4 lakh, denied that she had received money from PFI in relation to anti-CAA protests or for any other reason. Kapil Sibal also contradicted the Centre.
The PFI statement said another allegation leveled at them relates to transfer of funds to Popular Front’s Kashmir Wing. The group said it did not have a wing in Jammu and Kashmir.
“We challenge the so called “Unnamed Sources” to prove that there is any wing of Popular Front working in Kashmir. Popular Front carried out extensive flood relief work in Kashmir in 2014 and built more that 100 houses for the flood victims which was also openly declared by the organization in 2014 itself through official publications.
“Assigning the 2014 flood relief as 2019 anti-CAA protest funding makes it clear that there is a planned vilification campaign going on against Popular Front to stop our growth,” it said.