Protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the proposed NRC in December had turned violent in Uttar Pradesh, also raising charges of police brutality. (Express Photo)
The Kerala-based organisation Popular Front of India has denied allegations of funding anti-CAA protests in Uttar Pradesh.
On Monday, reports had emerged quoting unnamed Enforcement Directorate (ED) sources as saying that the recent violent protests in UP against the Citizenship Amendment Act had a "financial link" with the PFI.
A PTI report said the ED "has found that at least Rs 120 crore were deposited in bank accounts in western Uttar Pradesh after the Act was passed by Parliament late last year."
"It is suspected and alleged that these funds were used by PFI affiliates to fuel anti-CAA protests in various parts of UP, sources said, citing the findings of the Enforcement Directorate probe report," the PTI report said.
PFI has rejected the charge as "totally baseless", pointing out that the ED has not released any official statement making such claims.
A statement released by the body read: "The news attributes around 73 bank accounts to Popular Front and states that Rs 120 crore was transferred through these “alleged” Popular Front accounts to fund the anti-CAA protest. Popular Front of India had stated it multiple times that we fully comply with the law of the land and the allegation of Rs.120Cr transferred from the Popular Front’s accounts just before the CAA protest is totally baseless and the people who are leveling these allegations should prove these claims."
The statement also said that there had been claims about the PFI giving money to lawyers Kapil Sibal, Dushyant Dave and Indira Jaising, but these were payments made in 2017 for the Hadiya case.
Jaising has denied accepting any money from the PFI.
My statement denying receipt of money from PFI in relation to anti CAA protests or for any other reason or purpose whatsoever. @PTI_News @ZeeNews @ndtv @CNNnews18 @LiveLawIndia @barandbench @AltNews @scroll_in @thewire_in @the_hindu pic.twitter.com/HM1ECWDmxI
— Indira Jaising (@IJaising) January 27, 2020
Regarding allegations that PFI sent money to its Kashmir wing, the organisation said: "It is a open fact that Popular Front of India does not have any wing or branch in Jammu and Kashmir."
Recently, the Uttar Pradesh government had sent a report to the Home ministry, seeking a ban on PFI. The state had accused the organisation and its political front, the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) of “masterminding and instigating violence” during the anti-CAA, anti-NRC protests.
The PFI statement released Monday read: "We are confident that the fate of these series of allegation will also be like the ones before which could never be proved. Recently the UP and Assam government alleged Popular Front’s role in the anti-CAA protest related violence and even arrested our state level leaders. But their claims proved to be nothing but imaginations when they could not prove anything in the court and our leaders were released on bail."