ED arrests Kerala PFI leader in PMLA case

Updated on Apr 14, 2022 12:24 AM IST

On March 9, the ED arrested another PFI leader B P Abdul Razack from Kerala and the latest arrest is in connection with his disclosure, people aware of the development said.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday arrested Popular Front of India (PFI) leader M K Ashraf of Kerala in connection with a money-laundering case. (HT File/Representative use)
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday arrested Popular Front of India (PFI) leader M K Ashraf of Kerala in connection with a money-laundering case. (HT File/Representative use)
By, Thiruvananthapuram

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday arrested Popular Front of India (PFI) leader M K Ashraf in New Delhi in connection with a money-laundering case.

On March 9, the ED arrested another PFI leader B P Abdul Razack from Kerala and the latest arrest is in connection with his disclosure, people aware of the development said. They said he will also be booked under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. The central agency is yet to release details of the case against him.

Last year in December, the ED had raided the offices and residential premises of many PFI leaders in the state, including Ashraf’s office and residential premises in Muvattupuzha. PFI leader’s residence was raided by the ED last January and subsequently, he was summoned multiple times to Delhi for questioning.

In the month of March alone, he was questioned on four consecutive days from 19 to 23 and had received another summon on March 29 asking to appear again on April 5.

Meanwhile, PFI state chairman O M A Salam condemned the latest arrest. “Sangh Parivar is using central agencies to hound PFI leaders. It is part of the politics of hate. We will deal with such arrests politically and legally,” he said in Kozhikode, adding that the arrest was part of the ongoing witch-hunt against the PFI.

The PFI chairman called these acts of the ED “religious and political vendetta” against an organisation that stands for minorities.

“The ED is destroying its credibility as a legal and impartial agency. Their hands being tied from touching the multimillion business frauds enjoying political patronage. The ED is no longer acting as per its stated objectives. It is high time that the higher judiciary intervened in the matter to stop these misconducts by the central agency,” Salam added.

Salam further said that although ED has not found anything against the organization even after years of its investigation, raids, harassment and arrests are continuing on dubious grounds.

“All these actions show that rather than a fair investigation, the agency has sinister motives behind the case,” he added.

PFI is considered an offshoot of the banned Students’ Islamic Front of India (SIMI). When Muslim cleric Abdul Nasser Madani, an accused in 2010 Bengaluru stadium blast and 1998 Coimbatore blast cases, founded the Islamic Seva Sangh on the lines of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) after the Babari mosque demolition, many joined it.

Later, when Madani was in jail in connection with the Coimbatore blasts, these leaders formed the National Development Front (NDF). In 2006, the NDF merged with Manitha Neethi Passarai of Tamil Nadu and Forum for Dignity, a Karnataka-based outfit, to form the Popular Front of India (PFI). Now, the PFI claims that it has units in 22 states. Most of its frontline leaders are from Kerala.

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