The Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday, November 8, raided at least four premises in Kerala linked to the Popular Front of India (PFI) as part of a money-laundering investigation against the outfit, officials said. The searches were carried out in Ernakulam and a few other locations. Central paramilitary personnel escorted the ED teams during the raids.
Sources said that "incriminating documents" were recovered by the agency as part of its probe that is related to various instances of funding of the Islamic organisation. Some people also gathered outside the premises that were being raided and raised slogans, they said. PFI general secretary Anis Ahmed, in a video message, claimed the action was aimed at "harassing them" and the organisation will fight this using "legal and democratic means."
Meanwhile, the Kerala police said they have registered a case against some PFI activists for allegedly trying to create trouble during the ED raids at the residence of a leader of the outfit in Muvattupuzha.
Earlier too, the agency had carried out similar raids against the PFI, which was formed in 2006 in Kerala and is headquartered in Delhi. The central probe agency has been investigating the PFI's alleged "financial links" on charges of fuelling the anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protests in the country, the Delhi riots that took place in February last year and a few other instances.
Earlier, the ED had alleged that PFI collected funds from several gulf countries through hawala transactions.
In a chargesheet, the ED had further alleged that the National General Secretary of Campus Front of India (CFI), the studentsâ€™ wing of PFI, KA Rauf Sherif admitted that PFI collects funds in Gulf countries where PFI has appointed members in their District Committee Executives (DECs). The DEC members, according to the charge sheet, would approach people like business entities, businessmen and the general public for funds and the funds are mainly collected in cash.
Condemning the raids, PFI, in a statement, said this was not at all shocking as they knew that "the BJP will go to any extent to target and harass the Popular Front."
"The central agencies are being used by the BJP to target the PFI," Anis Ahmed, general secretary of the outfit, said in a video posted on its Facebook page.
The BJP in Kerala has not reacted to the allegations.