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Seven PFI officials summoned by ED in PMLA case

PUBLISHED ON JAN 28, 2020 11:46 PM IST

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate has issued summons to seven office bearers of Popular Front of India including its Chairman E Abubacker and also another organisation, Rehab India Foundation which received funds from it , asking them to appear before it on Wednesday, ED officials familiar with the development said on condition of anonymity.

A PFI functionary confirmed receiving the ED summons on Tuesday. However, the organisation didn’t immediately respond to a query seeking comment. Calls to the Rehab office remained unanswered.

ED officials said PFI has rented space in Delhi but did not explain why they think this is material.

One of the officials added that the summons have been issued under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and come against the backdrop of the ED finding a possible financial link between violent protests in Uttar Pradesh and other parts of the country against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and PFI. The Kerala-based organisation has already termed the allegations as “baseless”.

The agency claimed on Monday that countrywide protests against the contentious citizenship act are linked to the Popular Front of India with the Kerala based outfit raising funds for them.

In a note submitted to the ministry of home affairs on Monday, ED stated that there is a direct correlation between the dates of deposits/withdrawals of money from the bank accounts of PFI and those of demonstrations against CAA, going on since December in various cities.

ED note, on PFI’s link with anti-CAA protests, said - “It has been noticed that Rs 1.04 crores were deposited in 15 bank accounts of PFI (10) and Rehab India Foundation (5) during the period starting from 04.12.2019 till 06.01.2020. The deposits were in form of cash and IMPS using mobile and deposit amounts varies from Rs 5,000 to Rs 49,000. The amounts have been kept below Rs 50,000 in order to disclose the identity of depositor”.

The note also added: “Rs 1.34 crore were withdrawn from these 15 accounts from December 4, 2019 to January 6, 2020 by way of cash and NEFT/IMPS using mobile”. The withdrawals were made in small amounts of Rs 2,000 to Rs 5,000 on multiple occasions during a day to several individuals.

It also links days like December 12 and December 21, 2019, days witnessing heavy protests in several areas including Uttar Pradesh, when more than 80 to 90 withdrawals were made from a single account.

“The money trail has proved beyond doubt that PFI mobilised the money to finance the cost of demonstration/gherao against CAA Bill till 06.01.2020. Further investigation to trace money trail from other bank accounts is continuing,” the note said.

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