Several reports claimed that ED has found a "financial link" between PFI and anti-CAA protests in Uttar Pradesh (Photo Credit: PTI File)
The Popular Front of India (PFI) has slammed reports claiming that the recent violent protests in Uttar Pradesh against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) had a "financial link" with it. Earlier, several reports quoting official sources has said that the Enforcement Directorate has found a "financial link" with the Kerala-based outfit and the anti-CAA protests in Uttar Pradesh. These reports claimed that the agency, which is probing the Popular Front of India (PFI) under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) since 2018, has found that at least Rs 120 crore were deposited in bank accounts in western Uttar Pradesh after the Act was passed by Parliament late last year.
Reacting to the reports, PFI on Monday said, "Popular Front of India strongly condemns the news reports that are published in various news channels regarding Popular Front’s financial link to instigate the CAA protest. Firstly, the news channels have attributed the report to Enforcement Directorate through some “unnamed sources” but the ED has not contacted our organization, nor the ED has issued any such official statement regarding these allegations."
"The news attributes around 73 bank accounts to Popular Front and states that Rs. 120 crore was transferred through these “alleged” Popular Front accounts to fund the anti-CAA protest. Popular Front of India had stated it multiple times that we fully comply with the law of the land and the allegation of Rs.120Cr transferred from the Popular Front’s accounts just before the CAA protest is totally baseless and the people who are leveling these allegations should prove these claims," the PFI statement added.
It also clarified that the payment to some eminent lawyers mentioned in the reports were made as legal fees for a case.
The reports claimed that ED suspected that these funds were used by PFI affiliates to fuel anti-CAA protests in various parts of UP citing the findings of the Enforcement Directorate probe report via official sources. The ED, sources said, found the funds deposited in bank were also routed from some foreign shores and were sent in the accounts of certain investment firms.
The UP police had also recently sought a ban on the Popular Front of India (PFI), days after its complicity was suspected in the statewide violent protests against the amended citizenship law. Nearly 20 people had died during these protests.
The PFI was formed in 2006 in Kerala as a successor to the National Democratic Front (NDF).