Setback for Popular Front; Income Tax department cancels registration: Now, can’t receive funds

Under scanner for several terror and money laundering casers, Income Tax Department has cancelled the registration of Popular Front of India (PFI) under section 12AA(3) of the Income Tax Act 1961. This means the Islamist organization will not be able to receive funds. 

 Section 12AA(3) of the Act prescribes that the ‘registration can be canceled when the Commissioner is satisfied that the activities of the Trust or Institution are not genuine or are not being carried out in accordance with the objects of the Trust or Institution, as the case may be’.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) investigation reportedly found that the Islamist organization had collected funds to organize terror camps in Kerala. The ED said this in a statement filed in a Special Court for Prevention of Money Laundering Act cases here, opposing the bail plea filed by PFI”s student wing leader K A Rauf Sharif, arrested in connection with the money laundering probe. “Since PFI has raised substantial funds to organize terrorist training camps, its related activities and to disturb communal harmony…during the course of the investigation, details of numerous bank accounts of PFI and related entities were obtained and their bank statements were analyzed,” the ED said. “Statements of various functionaries of PFI and related entities were also recorded during the course of the investigation,” it added. Also, the ED which investigated money trail during anti-CAA protest had established Popular Front’s links.

In the statement, the ED said it had taken up a case after a charge-sheet filed by NIA in a special NIA court here in 2013 stated that a group of PFI/SDPI activists entered into a criminal conspiracy to impart training to their cadres in use of explosives and weapons and organized a terror camp at Narath in Kannur district. It was organized with an intention to promote enmity between different religions, prepare them for terrorist activities, and thereby committed acts endangering the unity and integrity of the nation, the charge-sheet said.

 The agency said documents and digital devices were seized during the recent search operations conducted at the offices of the PFI and at the residences of its office-bearers across India reveal that the outfit has been collecting huge amounts of funds abroad.v”Since these foreign funds are not reflected in the bank accounts of PFI, it is evident that same have been remitted to them through hawala/underground channels. Further, statutory compliance for collection of funds abroad and their remittance to India have not been done by PFI.”