Delhi Court Sends 5 Members Of Banned Group PFI To 6-Day Custody

Delhi court on Friday sent five alleged members of banned group PFI, arrested on Thursday in a money laundering case, to six-day police custody, after the ED alleged they were involved in generating proceeds of crime through terror activities.

Delhi Court Sends 5 Members Of Banned Group PFI To 6-Day Custody

A Delhi court on Friday sent five alleged key functionaries of the banned Popular Front of India (PFI), arrested on Thursday in a money laundering case, to six-day police custody, after the ED alleged they were involved in generating proceeds of crime through terror activities.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) arrested the accused from Tihar jail, where they were lodged in a terror case being probed by the NIA.

According to the ED, the key arrested operatives are A S Ismail, one of the founding members of PFI, Md Shakif, its Karnataka president, Anis Ahmed, national secretary until 2020, Afsar Paasha, national secretary when the organisation was declared unlawful, and E M Abdul Rahiman, who still remained the national vice president of the outfit. They were also associated with another proscribed outfit the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).

The ED, while producing the accused before Additional Sessions Judge Chanderjeet Singh, sought their custody for 10 days, saying they were directly involved in the activities linked to the proceeds of crime.

Represented by Special Public Prosecutors Naveen Kumar Matta and Manish Jain, besides advocate Mohd Faizan Khan, the anti-money laundering agency submitted the cash deposits and bank transfers made by them were not genuine transactions and were made by the PFI in order to project the unaccounted cash raised through unknown and suspicious sources as untainted and legitimate.

The ED claimed investigation has revealed that the PFI has raised substantial funds through its thousands of active members in the Gulf countries and elsewhere in a well-organised and structured manner.

"Hence, it is evident that funds collected by PFI abroad are remitted through hawala/ underground channels and through remittances sent to the accounts of members/ activists/ office bearers of PFI and other related organizations, and funds received from overseas are concealed from the government authorities and the statutory compliance was not done by PFI and its related organizations," the ED claimed.

The PFI was banned by the Centre over its alleged links to terror activities and association with global terrorist organisations like the ISIS.

The ED had filed the case based on an FIR lodged by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for alleged terrorism-related activities punishable under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

The ED alleged that the accused and other members associated with the organisation collected funds by way of donation, hawala, banking channels, etc., which were being used for unlawful activities and commission of various offences.

The federal anti-money laundering agency also said its probe found that bogus cash donations and bank transfers were made.

Funds were alleged to have also been transferred to India from abroad through a clandestine channel under a conspiracy hatched by the office bearers of the PFI over several years, the ED claimed.