The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has come up with some sensational findings regarding funds received by Popular Front of India (PFI) which raises some serious questions. Did PFI fuel the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) stir across the nation? Did they fund the protestors? If you simply go by the documents accessed by Republic TV, it does appear that there is a direct correlation – funds withdrawn from PFI bank accounts and violent demonstrations against CAA. It was while probing the Rs 120 crore money trail, that the agency stumbled upon some suspicious transactions in 15 accounts related to PFI. In the last three months, over a dozen ED officials have been burning the midnight oil to trace the source of the funding. What they found only raised some very uncomfortable questions that perhaps the outfit will need to answer.
Rs 1.04 crore was deposited in 15 bank accounts of PFI – 10 of PFI and 5 of Rehab India Foundation (related entity) – between December 12, 2019 and January 6, 2020. In order to avoid the gaze of investigating agencies, deposit amount was always below Rs 50,000 – it would vary from Rs 5,000 to Rs 49,000. This way they avoided disclosing the identity of the depositor.
Rs 1.34 crore was withdrawn from these bank accounts during the same period. The money was either withdrawn from an ATM or through NEFT / IMPS using a mobile phone. Barring a few cheque payments, most transactions would take place either from an ATM or NEFT / IMPS.
Scrutiny of the withdrawals between December 12, 2019, and January 6, 2020, reveals that withdrawals were made by transferring money of small amounts – varying from Rs 2,000 to Rs 5,000 – on multiple occasions during a day to several individuals.
On days like December 21, 2019, and December 12, 2019, more than 80 and 90 withdrawals were made from a single account.
Interestingly, money was withdrawn immediately before the date of protest or during the day of the protest. According to the ED, the withdrawal of money from bank accounts of PFI and its related entities has a direct correlation with a violent demonstration against CAA. “The money trail has proved beyond doubt that PFI has mobilized the money to finance the cost of the demonstration against CAA.
ACCOUNT NUMBER: 9086*****5
ACCOUNT HOLDER: Popular Front of India
BANK: Syndicate Bank, Nehru Place
The main case was registered by the ED in 2018 after the National Investigation Agency had filed an FIR against the radical outfit. In the investigation, ED studied the transactions that took place in 73 bank accounts related to PFI. “The scrutiny of these transactions as recorded in these bank accounts revealed that Rs 120.5 crore was credited in these bank accounts which were withdrawn on the same day or within two to three days leaving a very nominal balance in these accounts,” reveals a source in ED.
ED’s investigation has revealed that Rs 20 lakhs was received from M/s PMA International LLC, Dubai in the bank account of PFI affiliate Rehab India Foundation. ED sources say the nature of business activities between PMA International and PFI is questionable. This company operates in Dubai, Muscat and Oman.