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ED books Tahir, PFI on money laundering charges

PTI

New Delhi

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has booked suspended Aam Aadmi Party councillor Tahir Hussain, Islamist group PFI and some others on the charges of money laundering and alleged funding of last month’s communal riots in northeast Delhi, officials said on Wednesday.

They said the central probe agency has filed a criminal case against Hussain, facing charges of killing an Intelligence Bureau official during the riots, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Similar charges have been pressed against the Popular Front of India (PFI), which is already facing a separate PMLA probe for allegedly fuelling protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in various parts of the country.

There was no immediate comment from PFI.

The ED is expected to seek Hussain’s custody to question him in the case. He is in the custody of Delhi Police at present.

The officials said the federal agency has taken cognisance of a clutch of FIRs filed by Delhi Police’s Crime Branch to probe the alleged money laundering and routing of illegal funds by Hussain, PFI and others to purportedly sponsor the communal riots which claimed 53 lives and injured over 200.

Hussain, an AAP corporator for ward number 59 under the Mustafabad assembly seat in Delhi, was booked by the police in the murder case of IB staffer Ankit Sharma in northeast Delhi amid the violence over the new citizenship law.

The family of Sharma (26), found dead in a drain near his home in riot-hit Chand Bagh area, has accused Hussain of being behind the killing. The corporator had said he was falsely implicated in the case and had denied wrongdoing.

In the case of PFI, the organisation was already being probed by the ED for allegedly routing about Rs 120 crore funds to fuel anti-CAA riots in the country and the agency has questioned about half-a-dozen of its office bearers over the last fortnight. This case is being probed as part of a 2018 ECIR (enforcement case information report), equivalent of a police FIR, against the PFI and some associated organisations.

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