The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has arrested a member of the Popular Front of India's student wing, Rauf Sharif, after he was apprehended by authorities at the Thiruvananthapuram airport in Kerala, official sources said on Sunday. They said Sharif has been placed under arrest under sections of the Prevention of the Money Laundering Act (PMLA) on Saturday and a Kerala court has sent him to judicial custody. The ED is expected to move for his custodial remand on Monday.
Sources said Sharif, reported to be the general secretary of the PFI's student wing-- campus front of India-- was "evading" ED summons in connection with a criminal money laundering probe being conducted against the Kerala-based Islamic organisation PFI.
The ED, sources said, had got notified a look out circular against Sharif after he allegedly skipped multiple summons issued by the ED under the PMLA.
Following this circular, they said, he was intercepted by authorities at the Thiruvananthapuram airport on Saturday following which the ED was alerted and the central probe agency picked him up.
Sharif, they said, was planning to take a flight to a foreign destination from the airport.
The ED is probing Sharif's role with regard to some suspect monetary remittances received by him in the past and it had recovered "incriminating" documents linked to him during the recent country-wide raids it conducted against the PFI, its chairman OM Abdul Salam, Kerala state chief Nasarudheen Elamarom and others.
The PFI, formed in 2006 in Kerala and headquartered in Delhi, had called the raids a gimmick and an attempt to divert attention from the farmers' issue.
Sharif's role in connection with movement of funds in the aftermath of an alleged gangrape and death of a Dalit woman in Uttar Pradeshs' Hathras district is also under the scanner of the ED, sources said.
The Uttar Pradesh Police is also investigating his role in this case.
The ED is investigating PFI's "financial links" on alleged charges of fuelling the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) protests in the country, the Delhi riots that took place in February, even as agency sources had earlier said they are probing the "larger" role of the organisation in relation to some other similar cases under the anti-money laundering law.