The two outfits were instrumental in mobilising protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in Assam last December
The Popular Front of India (PFI) has rejected allegation that Rs 120 crore were transferred from its accounts just before the protest against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). PFI has said that the allegations are “totally baseless” and that people levelling them should prove their claims, news agency PTI has reported.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had reportedly found that the recent violent protests in Uttar Pradesh and other parts of the country against CAA had an alleged "financial link" with the Kerala-based organisation.
On January 27, official sources said that the federal probe agency, which is investigating the PFI under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) since 2018, had found that at least Rs 1.04 crore were deposited in several bank accounts linked to the organisation between December 4, 2019 and January 6, 2020, in various parts of the country.
This was around the time when Parliament passed the law. According to CAA, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who came from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014, and faced religious persecution there will not be treated as illegal immigrants and will be eligible for Indian citizenship. The law excludes Muslims.
The PTI report adds that a total amount of Rs 120 crore, credited to bank accounts linked to the PFI, is under the ED's scanner.
These deposits were either made in cash or through the immediate payment service (IMPS) and a number of such instances were seen in Uttar Pradesh, where the maximum number of violent anti-CAA protests were reported to have taken place, the report adds.
Quoting the ED findings, the PTI sources further said that the withdrawal of money from the bank accounts linked to PFI and its related entities had a "direct correlation" with the violent demonstrations against the CAA.
After the report surfaced, the PFI issued a statement saying, "The Popular Front of India has stated it multiple times that we fully comply with the law of the land and the allegation of Rs 120 crore transferred from the Popular Front's accounts just before the CAA protests is totally baseless and the people who are levelling these allegations should prove these claims."
The Popular Front, it said, will not be bowed down by "such cheap campaigning by the forces backed by the fascist who wants to stop us".
The PFI was formed in 2006 in Kerala as a successor to the National Democratic Front (NDF).