Kochi: The Enforcement Directorate, probing the money laundering probe against the Popular Front of India (PFI), told a court here on Thursday that its investigation so far revealed that the Kerala-based outfit has received more than Rs 100 crore in its bank accounts over the years. The agency, while seeking extension of custody of PFI's student wing leader K A Rauf Sharif, arrested in connection with the money laundering probe, made the submission in the Special court for Prevention of Money Laundering Cases here.
Considering ED's application, the court extended the custody of Sharif for three more days. In its affidavit submitted, ED stated that the source and disbursal of these funds is under investigation.
"The investigation conducted by the Directorate against PFI has so far revealed that more than Rs 100 crore have been deposited in the accounts of PFI over the years, and that a large part of the same has been deposited in cash", the ED said. It also alleged that since 2013, PFI has been indulging in various scheduled offences and the money transfers and cash deposits have also significantly increased after 2014.
Investigation has also revealed that PFI has been involved in anti-CAA protests and funds during the period of December 2019 to February 2020 may have been used for this purpose, the affidavit said. ED also mentioned the role and involvement of PFI members in the Delhi riots in February this year have come to its notice in the ongoing investigation into the money laundering in the riots.
"There are also indications that PFI has linkages with the recent violence in Bangalore city in which its political wing-SDPI-has been found to be involved. PFI has also been involved in various cases in the past in which public order was disturbed and various offences of grave nature were committed by the members of the organisations", it said in the affidavit.
The ED, which carried out searches at the offices of PFI and at the residences of its office bearers across India, said incriminating documents and digital devices were seized during the raids. It alleged that PFI has been collecting huge amounts of funds abroad and that targets for foreign collection of funds have also been fixed.
Seeking custody of Rauf Sharif, national general secretary of PFI's student wing, the ED said it is evident that the outfit and its associated organisations like CFI have been continuously involved in money laundering and have been using the proceeds of crime for committing unlawful activities across India. The non-cooperative and evasive attitude of Sharif along with his deliberate attempts to avoid joining the inquiry and to flee the country trigger further suspicion about his activities and involvement in money laundering activities, the ED submitted.
He was produced before the special court as his seven days custody granted to ED last week ended on Thursday. When Sharif informed the court that he was mentally tortured by the agency, the judge warned and directed ED not to repeat it.
The ED arrested Sharif after he was apprehended by authorities at Thiruvananthapuram airport a fortnight ago. PTI TGB ROH ROH 12241727 NNNN.