A leaked document attributed to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) was released by several news media organisations alleging a "financial link" between the anti-CAA protests and the Kerala-based outfit, the Popular Front of India (PFI).
As per the document, PFI spent nearly 120 crores to organise the riots with the help of an organisation named Rehab Foundation of India (RFI).
About 27 bank accounts were allegedly opened in the name of Popular Front of India, of which 9 belong to Rehab India Foundation, an organisation associated with PFI. The same organisation allegedly opened 37 bank accounts in the name of 17 different people and organisations.
The document claimed around ₹120 crores were deposited in 73 accounts to escape investigations. After deposits were made, the accounts were left empty with a nominal amount.
The document claimed that money was transferred into bank accounts in western Uttar Pradesh, like Bijnor, Hapur, Bahraich, Shamli, Dasna. It also states that ever since the CAA was passed on December 4, crores of money started flowing into these accounts.
It's clear now Anti CAA protests are being funded by PFI. There is a clear link between the bank transfers and anti CAA protests, their timing and location. Also read the names of the liberal leaders who are getting funds from PFI. pic.twitter.com/7zmePibMwA— Sudhir Chaudhary (@sudhirchaudhary) January 27, 2020
Additionally, the document claims that the transaction dates in these bank accounts were the same as that of the anti-CAA violence. The amount of ₹120 crores was deposited within 2 to 3 days and was withdrawn immediately.
The leaked document mentions the names of several eminent people who have allegedly been paid by the PFI:
- Congress leader Kapil Sibal- 77 Lakh
- Lawyer Indira Jaising- 4 Lakh
- Dushyant Dave- 11 Lakh
- Abdul Samar- 3 Lakh
- New Jothi Group- 1.17 Crore
- PFI Kashmir- 1.65 Crore
Advocate Indira Jaising vehemently denied the accusations and questioned the veracity of the document that did not bear any government signature or stamp.
My statement denying receipt of money from PFI in relation to anti CAA protests or for any other reason or purpose whatsoever. @PTI_News @ZeeNews @ndtv @CNNnews18 @LiveLawIndia @barandbench @AltNews @scroll_in @thewire_in @the_hindu pic.twitter.com/HM1ECWDmxI— Indira Jaising (@IJaising) January 27, 2020
How Media Reported
In a sensational revelation, the ED has unearthed a direct link between anti-CAA protests in Uttar Pradesh and the PFI, sending a note stating the same to the Home Ministry, Republic reported.
The link between the violent clashes and the PFI has been corroborated on the basis of money transfers to areas which witnessed violence on an unparalleled scale, Times Now reported.
Enforcement Directorate has stated that the PFI mobilised Rs 120 crore to fund anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests in India, Business Today reported.
The transactions in the bank accounts were detected in the last two months. The ED has been keeping a close tab on the 27 bank accounts of PFI, nine bank accounts of RFI, 37 individuals and entities in 17 different banks, as per an Outlook India report.
As many as nine PFI offices opened up in Delhi's Shaheen Bagh area to fund the ongoing protest, it further said.
The Uttar Pradesh Police had earlier claimed that the PFI was actively involved in the recent anti-CAA violence in the state and said that they have enough evidence against the 25 members who were arrested.
"The government is merely trying to malign the organisation but without any concrete proof. As many as 19 of the 25 PFI members, arrested by the police, have been granted bail because the police had no evidence against us," the PFI president told the media.
Questions That Need To Be Addressed
The authenticity of the leaked document that is doing the rounds needs to be questioned. The note mentions the details of the transactions but bears no name, signature or date. The exact source of origin of the said document is also unknown.
The note was widely shared on social media platforms by journalists and media organisations without due diligence. This can also be seen as an attempt to malign certain individuals and discredit leading anti-CAA voices in the country.