ED arrests PFI leader from Kerala raising foreign funds for “anti-national” activities


New Delhi:  The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has arrested a Popular Front of India (PFI) member from Kerala’s Kozhikode airport in a money laundering case on charges of raising foreign funds for “anti-national” activities, sources said on Saturday.

Immigration authorities intercepted Abdul Razzak BP, a divisional president of the PFI’s Perumpadappu unit in Malappuram, on March 9 based on an Enforcement Directorate Lookout Circular (LOC) issued against him, said the source, adding Razzak was trying to escape from India.

The ED officials later took Razzak in custody and he was produced before a special court the next day in Uttar Pradesh’s Lucknow. The court remanded Razzak to seven days ED custody, said the official sources.

It is learnt that a team of ED officials had conducted searches at premises linked to Razzak and others in December last year and claimed to have seized some incriminating documents linked to the case being probed by the agency against him.

ED officials, privy to the investigation, raised suspicion that Razzak was involved in raising funds from foreign countries as well as within the country for “PFI’s anti-national activities”.

The ED has been investigating the “acquisition” of some foreign assets, including a bar-cum-restaurant in Abu Dhabi, by PFI leaders after the seizure of some documents in raids conducted on December 8 last year on its members in Kerala as part of the money laundering case. The ED then carried out raids at the residences of Razzak; Shafeeque Payeth, a member of the PFI and its linked outfit Social Democratic Party of India at Peringathur in Kannur; Ashraf M.K alias Tamar Ashraf/Ashraf Khader, a PFI leader based in Muvattupuzah, and the office premises of Munnar villa vista project at Mankulam in Munnar.

The ED claimed to have inputs regarding ‘money laundering activities of the PFI through various projects in Kerala, including the Munnar villa vista project which is being built by the PFI leaders to launder proceeds of crime generated in India and abroad’.

ED officials mentioned about “acquisition of foreign properties by the PFI leaders, including a bar and restaurant in Abu Dhabi”.

The Islamic organization was formed in 2006 in Kerala and is headquartered in Delhi. The central probe agency has been investigating the PFI’s alleged “financial links” on charges of fuelling the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protests in the country, the riots in Delhi that took place in February 2020, and a few other instances.

The ED is also probing Razzak’s connection with purported illegal funding to “disturb communal harmony and incite riots” post the alleged gang rape and death of a Dalit woman in 2020 in Hathras, Uttar Pradesh.

In February last year, the ED had also filed a charge sheet in this case before a special court in Lucknow.

By Rajnish Singh


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