The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday, February 11 filed its first charge sheet under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act against office-bearers of the Popular Front of India (PFI) and its students' wing Campus Front of India (CFI). The charge sheet has accused the outfits' members of wanting to "incite communal riots and spread terror" after the rape and murder of a Dalit woman in Uttar Pradesh's Hathras in September 2020, reported Scroll.in.
The charge sheet named journalist Siddique Kappan and three others allegedly related to PFI and CFI – Atikur Rahman, Masud Ahmed and Mohammad Alam – who were detained by the UP Police on October 5, while they were on their way to Hathras to meet the victims' family.
The ED said that the inquiry revealed that over Rs 100 crore have been deposited in the accounts of PFI over several years. It also mentioned about illegal activities including funding protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, inciting communal violence in Delhi in February 2020, and attempts to disturb harmony in Hathras.
The charge sheet filed by the ED has been accepted by a special court in Lucknow.
The court has issued summons to the five accused for appearing before it on March 18.
Popular Front of India (PFI) is a Kerala-based organisation that the Uttar Pradesh government has asked to be banned for its alleged involvement in violence during the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
The probing agency said its probe found "that the visit to Hathras of these PFI/CFI members was under the instructions of Rauf Sherif and funds for the same were also provided by him."
The charge sheet also alleged that Rauf Sherif was part of a criminal conspiracy with PFI members in Gulf countries "to fraudulently transfer the money raised/collected abroad by PFI in the guise of payments related to business transactions."
Siddique Kappan, along with three others were arrested on October 5 under section 151 of the Criminal Procedure Code 'on suspicion of their intention to commit some cognisable offence' and was also slapped with the stringent anti-terror law-Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
In November 2020, the Uttar Pradesh government told the Supreme Court that Kappan was covering his intentions to 'create caste divide and disturb law and order in Hathras under the garb of journalism', the Uttar Pradesh government told the Supreme Court on Friday, November 20.