Through a major, pan-India drive, PFI members used to collect cash and keep the funds at the organisation’s Shaheen Bagh headquarters. (Photo Credit: File Photo)
Special Cell of Delhi Police arrested the state head and the secretary of the Popular Front of India over their alleged links with the Shaheen Bagh’s anti-CAA protests on Thursday. Mohammed Perwez Ahmed, the Delhi State head of PFI and Illiyas, the secretary of the organisation were arrested over the funding of the citizenship stir. The arrests were made on the basis of the statement recorded by another PFI member Danish. Ahmed has already been interrogated by the Enforcement Directorate. Sources say that the Delhi Police is also probing the role of both PFI functionaries in the communal violence that erupted in North-East Delhi on February 24 last month.
According to the Special Cell probe, Rs 120 crore were deposited in as many as 73 bank accounts. These accounts are maintained by the PFI and its subsidiary organisations. These 73 accounts are in 17 banks across India. Major share of the deposits was made in cash, the probe revealed. Of the total cash deposits, one-third was kept in the PFI Headquarters, which is located in the Shaheen Bagh area of south Delhi. Through a major, pan-India drive, PFI members used to collect cash and keep the funds at the organisation’s Shaheen Bagh headquarters.
The police say that both Ahmed, Illiyas took part in anti-CAA protests. One of the key revelation made by the Special Cell probe was that ‘Ahmed was constantly in touch with AAP’ Sanjay Singh.’ He is the Rajya Sabha member. Not just AAP, Ahmed was also in touch with many Congress leaders, the police probe said. He was also part of WhatsApp groups such as ‘Bheem Army Top 100’ and ‘Unification of Muslim Leadership.’
Last month, the Uttar Pradesh Police had arrested at least 108 members of the Popular Front of India for role in the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protest violence in the state. Awanish K Awasthi, additional chief secretary of the Uttar Pradesh home department, on Monday said: "This is just the beginning. We will get to the roots of the organisation. A probe is also going on about their financial dealings. We are in touch with central agencies and are sharing information with them.” "PFI is active in districts like Sambhal, Muzaffarnagar, Lucknow, Shamli among several others. On December 19 and 20, PFI members were responsible for instigating violence during the anti-CAA protest," he said. The PFI reportedly has presence in 23 states and the strongest in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh.
(With agency inputs)