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PFI case: Delhi Court takes cognizance of ED's chargesheet against Sahul Hameed
New Delhi: The Patiala House Court of Delhi has taken cognizance of a chargesheet filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) against Sahul Hameed, who was arrested from Madurai in connection with a money laundering probe against a banned organisation namely Popular Front of India (PFI).
The Additional Sessions Judge Shailender Malik last week took cognizance of ED's supplementary chargesheet and issued a production warrant for accused Sahul Hameed on August 29, 2023.
According to the ED, the accused was earlier in the process of collecting illegal money/terror funds from legitimate and illegitimate channels from Singapore and other places. He stated to have been deported to India. Upon receipt of inputs, he was intercepted and could not give an account of certain activities taken by him toward collecting funds for PFI.
The Enforcement Directorate was represented by Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) Naveen Kumar Matta along with Advocate Mohd Faizan Khan in the matter.
ED counsel earlier informed the court that the statement of the accused under section 50 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act was also recorded wherein he remained evasive in giving answers to certain material aspects collected during the investigation. Therefore ED arrested the accused.
Earlier, the same court had taken cognizance of a main chargesheet (Prosecution Complaint) filed by the Enforcement Directorate against several office bearers of Popular Front of India (PFI) in a special court in Delhi.
The court noted that funds were used for the purpose of unlawful activities, inciting violence, which was allegedly held in North East Delhi in February 2020.
According to the ED, the accused persons have revealed that they have played an active role in bogus cash donations on behalf of PFI and in claiming and projecting PFI's unaccounted cash raised through unknown and suspicious sources as untainted and legitimate.
ED stated that the PMLA investigation has revealed that as a part of a criminal conspiracy hatched by PFI office bearers over the past many years, suspicious funds from within the country and abroad have been raised by PFI and related entities and have been clandestinely remitted to India in a concealed manner and deposited in their bank accounts over the years.
In March this year, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) Tribunal upheld the decision of the central government's decision to ban Popular Front of India and its affiliates.
The Tribunal has dismissed the allegations levelled by the organisation that one particular community is being targeted by the government. The Tribunal while passing the judgement noted that the members of PFI and its affiliates are indulging in secessionist activities which were contrary to the social fabric of the country.
In September last year, the Ministry of Home Affairs declared the Popular Front of India (PFI) and its affiliates as an ‘Unlawful Association’.
The press statement issued in this regard stated that the Popular Front of India (PFI) and its associates or affiliates or fronts have been found to be involved in serious offences, including terrorism and its financing, targeted gruesome killings, disregarding the constitutional setup of the country, disturbing public order, etc. which are prejudicial to the integrity, security and sovereignty of the country.
Therefore, the Ministry of Home Affairs found it necessary to curb the nefarious activities of the organization and has hence declared the Popular Front of India (PFI) along with its associates or affiliates or fronts including Rehab India Foundation (RIF), Campus Front of India (CFI), All India Imams Council (AIIC), National Confederation of Human Rights Organization (NCHRO), National Women’s Front, Junior Front, Empower India Foundation and Rehab Foundation, Kerala as an “unlawful association” under the provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.