In a money-laundering investigation being carried out against the Muslim extremist organisation Popular Front of India (PFI), the Enforcement Directorate (ED) alleged yesterday that the outfit had raised substantial funds to organise terrorist training camps in Kerala. The ED filed a statement in a special court for Prevention of Money Laundering Act opposing the bail plea of KA Rauf Sharif, the general secretary of Campus Front of India (CFI), the student wing of the PFI, who was arrested in connection with the money laundering case.
Opposing his bail plea, the ED has asserted that Sharif had received foreign remittances of suspicious nature that seemed to have been routed to his account disguised as payments related to international trade.
PFI/SDPI activists imparted weapons training in terror camps
As per reports, in the statement filed before the PMLA court, the ED said that it had taken up a case following the filing of a charge sheet in a National Investigation Agency (NIA) court in 2013. The charge sheet stated that a group of PFI/SDPI activists had conspired to impart training to their cadres in use of explosives and weapons and organised a terror camp at Narath in Kannur district.
It was alleged that the training camp was organised with the intention of promoting enmity between different religions, preparing them for terrorist activities and therefore committed acts endangering the unity and integrity of the nation. “Since PFI has raised substantial funds to organise terrorist training camps, its related activities and to disturb communal harmony…during the course of the investigation, details of numerous bank accounts of PFI and related entities were obtained and their bank statements were analysed”, the ED said.
The ED said that the statements of several functionaries of the PFI and related entities were also recorded during the probe. The central agency alleged that it seized several documents and digital devices during the recent raids conducted at PFI offices and the residences of its office-members across India that reveal that the organisation had been collecting huge amounts of funds abroad.
The ED said that the funds received from abroad were not reflected in the PFI bank accounts which showed that the same had been remitted to them through hawala/underground channels. The PFI, allegedly, did not comply with the laws governing the collection and remittance of foreign funds. It was alleged by the ED that the PFI and its associated organisations like CFI have been involved in money laundering and have been using the money for carrying out unlawful activities in the country.
ED demanded judicial custody of CFI leader KA Rauf Sharif
The ED demanded the judicial custody of Sharif arguing that it was necessary during the crucial phase of investigation as he could try to influence the witnesses and tamper with or destroy the material evidence if let free. The ED alleged that Sharif had transferred funds to one Ateeq ur Rehman.
Ateeq ur Rehman along with three others including a journalist from Kerala was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh police while they were travelling to Hathras following the death of a Dalit girl last year. “Further, there is a huge withdrawal of cash from the accounts of the accused which is suspicious in nature”, the agency alleged. An affidavit was filed by the ED in the court last month claiming its probe had revealed that the PFI had received more than Rs 100 crore in its bank accounts over the years.
Nasarudheen Elamaran, the national secretary of the PFI denied all the allegations as baseless and alleged that the ED was being used as a tool by the central government to corner their opponents.