Court seeks ED’s response on PFI members’ bail pleas

A Delhi court has sought response from the Enforcement Directorate on the bail applications of three alleged members of the banned Popular Front of India (PFI) in a money laundering case related to alleged terror activities.

Special Judge Shailender Malik issued notice to the ED on the applications filed by Mohammad Ilias, Mohammad Perwez Ahmed and Abdul Muqeet.

The judge directed the central probe agency to file reply to Ahmed’s plea by August 24 and to other two applications moved by Ilias and Muqeet by August 26.

The accused moved the application before the court last week, claiming they were not required for investigation any longer since the probe against them was already complete, adding no purpose will be served by keeping them in further custody.

The accused were arrested on September 22, 2022 and are currently in judicial custody.

The ED had filed a prosecution complaint (the federal agency’s equivalent of a charge sheet) against them on November 19, 2022.

The case relates to the alleged laundering of Rs 120 crore over several years.

The PFI was banned by the Centre in September last year over its alleged links with terror activities.

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The ED had filed the case based on an FIR lodged by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for alleged terror-related activities punishable under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

The agency had alleged that the accused and other members of the organisation indulged in collecting funds by way of donations, “hawala”, banking channels etc., which were being used for unlawful activities and commission of various offences.

The anti-money laundering agency alleged that its probe found bogus cash donations and bank transfers. Funds were alleged to have also been transferred to India from abroad through a clandestine channel under a conspiracy hatched by the office-bearers of the PFI over the years, it said.

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