NEW DELHI: The ED on Thursday attacked at least 26 campuses in nine states linked to the Popular Front of India (PFI) as part of its money laundering probe, official sources said. .
The searches are being conducted in Chennai, Tenkasi and Madurai (Tamil Nadu), Bangalore, Darbhanga and Purnia (Bihar), Lucknow and Barabanki (Uttar Pradesh), Maharashtra u Rangabad, Kolkata and Murshidabad (West Bengal). According to the provisions of the Money Laundering Prevention Act (PMLA) in Delhi and Kochi, Malappuram and Thiruvananthapuram districts of Kerala, he said.
He said one of the many money laundering cases has been collected and investigations are being carried out against the PFI and its affiliates.
Salam, who is also the national secretary of the PFI, includes the campus of Elamorom, except for some other officers of the organization.
The Central Investigation Agency is investigating the “financial links” of the PFI over allegations of anti-citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) protests in the country, the Delhi riots in February and a few other instances.
It had previously recorded the statement of Salam, a senior aide of Kerala State Electricity Board and several PFI officers in Delhi.
Salam was posted at the Regional Auditor Office of the Kerala Electricity Board in Manjeri town of Malappuram.
The PFI and Salam called the attacks an attempt to divert attention from the gimmick and peasant problem.
“The attacks of the National Front national leaders across the country were simultaneously raided. We believe this is politically motivated action on the part of the agency. Such attacks usually take place in our country whenever there is an incumbent government.
“The Modi government has always used national agencies against its political opponents and the credibility of these agencies to overcome differences in the country is questionable,” the agency said in a statement.
Farmers’ protests and ED attacks that blockade Delhi are not only a “gimmick” to divert the issue, but it is under heavy pressure from the central government.
Officials say it “aims to prevent the organization from fighting against the unconstitutional CAA-NRC because it is at the forefront and remains a major force in citizenship movements across the country.”
Formed in 2006 in Kerala and headquartered in Delhi, the PFI said its activities were “transparent” and out of the public eye and they had nothing to hide.
The ED said last month it was investigating a “financial link” between the PFI and the Bhim Army in a registered money laundering case to investigate allegations of illicit money being used to “fuel” anti-CAA protests.
“The ED is investigating the financial link between the PDI and Bhim Army based on credible evidence seized from senior PFI officials,” the agency said in a tweet.
Bhim’s army, led by its chief Chandrashekhar Azad, has told the PTI that it is ready for all kinds of investigations.
The agency has been investigating PFI since 2018 under PMLA.
Between December 4 last year and January 6 this year, at least 1.04 crore in various parts of the country were deposited in various bank accounts associated with the company, the ED said.
The total amount deposited for bank accounts linked to PFI is Rs 120 crore. Sources said the ED was under the scanner.
Sources claim that these dubious deposits were made in cash or through an Instant Payment Service (IMPS), and several such instances have been reported in Uttar Pradesh where the maximum number of violent CAA protests have been reported.
Referring to the ED findings, sources said the withdrawal of funds from bank accounts associated with PFI and its related entities was “directly related” to violent demonstrations against CAA.
The report was sent to the Union Home Ministry.
In August, the agency arrested former Delhi Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) councilor Tahir Hussain and accused him of using the money he had received to “fuel” anti-CAA protests and Delhi riots.
“Investigations have revealed that the companies owned and controlled by Tahir Hussein and their relatives have transferred vast amounts of money to suspicious entities and entry operators.
“The money received by Tahir Hussein through admissions operators has been used to promote anti-CAA protests and Delhi riots,” the agency said in a statement.

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