Statement issued by the Central Secretariat
A new round of defamatory ‘Breaking News’ campaign against Popular Front of India is being undertaken by the BJP government by utilizing the puppet media under its control. This time the allegations revolve around misuse of money which is a more effective tool that can be used to defame the organisation and for character assassination of its leaders. Allegations of foreign funding and money laundering too are raised against the organization. Followed by various accusations carried by visual and print media with vested interests in the past few days, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) of Government of India has issued notices naming the office bearers of Popular Front of India requiring them to appear to give evidence about the allegations. Popular Front is sure that all sensible and honest citizens and groups in India would see this act as an exercise of political vendetta only, because of the consistent stand and resolute fights of the organization against the evil designs of RSS and BJP.
The new allegation against Popular Front of India is that it financed the anti-CAA protests that are gaining momentum everyday across the country. In fact, it is a desperate attempt on the part of the central government to divert, if not defeat, the strong anti-CAA protests, by linking it to a particular Muslim organization, that is Popular Front of India and branding it a terrorist outfit. Groups with vested interests have always been trying to raise different types of allegations against the organization, and it is not going to cease with this allegation. Though the government or the investigating agencies have so far failed to produce any evidence to prove the allegations, they will continue with new allegations as long as the organization continues its fight for justice.
The ongoing anti-Citizenship Act protests have shattered all expectations of the RSS controlled BJP government of easily implementing the anti-people CAA, NRC and NPR, as people of the country, barring the Sangh Parivar, have been thronging the streets for the past several weeks. These protests are not confined to India, but it has spread all over the world. The government is in a futile attempt to save its face from the humiliation resulted from the enactment of the law. Now they have drawn the last weapon in their armory by alleging that Popular Front of India, which always stands against the injustice of the ruling class, has instigated violence in Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka and is providing financial assistance to the protesters all over India.
Violence occurred in the BJP ruled states only. Innocent Muslims, Popular Front members and supporters in particular were targetted, accompanied by puppet media-trials and large scale misinformation campaigns against the organization. The fraudulent ways and means being adopted by authorities in the case of ED notices itself speak about the real intentions of the BJP government. The reports referring to the Enforcement Directorate as the source of information claim that crores of rupees had been deposited to and withdrawn from scores of banks for this purpose. The slanderous campaign started with the accusation that Popular Front has used an amount as huge as Rs 120 crore through bank accounts to instigate violence in UP in connection with the anti-Citizenship Act agitation in one month alone. Later, the allegation was diluted to spending the money for protests. Another version followed spanning the above incomes and withdrawals back to many years. The new finding has brought the one-month UP transactions for protests to just 1.04 crore. The unscrupulous media neither feel any prick of conscience nor bother about any sort of ethics while manufacturing such self-contradictory serials to witch-hunt an organisation. In fact they are just replicating the versions provided by their political masters as payback for the undue personal and corporate benefits they enjoy.
The media reports quoting ED have dragged the name of an NGO working in the field of village development into the financial dealing of Popular Front without any evidence. A few reputed Supreme Court lawyers like Kapil Sibal, Dushyant Dave and Indira Jaising were also alleged to have received money from Popular Front of India to instigate anti CAA protests. Popular Front outrightly denies all such allegations levelled with the intention of maligning the organization and also the other individuals and organisations.
Allegations Vs. Facts
Allegation: Popular Front is behind the violence. The investigation has revealed that about Rs 120 crore has been spent to carry out the riot.
Fact: Popular Front is not behind, but is part of the protests against CAA wherever it has presence. Acts of violence were reported only from the BJP ruled states of UP, Assam and Karnataka. The media reported with evidence that all the above criminal activities were carried out by the police and the RSS criminals in police uniform. Popular Front members and associates have never indulged in any sort of violence anywhere and it has never funded protesters anywhere with any amount of money. Let the ‘investigators’ produce substantiating evidence to support their allegations.
Allegation: The police have found evidence against the PFI in Uttar Pradesh.
Fact: Those Popular Front members and supporters arrested in connection with the protests in UP were released on bail by the courts as the UP police failed to produce any incriminating evidence against them.
Allegation: 27 bank accounts were opened in the name of Popular Front of India, 9 bank accounts belong to Rehab India Foundation. Another 37 bank accounts in the name of 17 different people and organizations.
Fact: Popular Front has only 20 bank accounts in various states across the country. One would wonder whether having this number of bank accounts for an all India organization is an offence. Front doesn’t have any other bank accounts anywhere. Rehab India Foundation is an independent NGO.
Allegation: Investigation going on about Rs 120 crore deposited in 73 accounts and were emptied leaving a nominal amount in the accounts.
Fact: Popular Front challenges to substantiate these allegations with evidence.
Allegation: Crores of cash started flowing into the accounts linked with PFI since December 4.
Fact: Total cash deposited from 4th December 2019 to 20th January 2020 to the 20 branches where Popular Front has accounts was Rs. 60 lakhs.
Allegation: Those who deposited the money were instructed to deposit less than Rs 50,000 at a time.
Fact: Main sources of income of Popular Front of India are the monthly subscriptions of its members that is spent at lower levels and donations and the annual working fund collected from the general public. Funds collected are acknowledged with receipts. Some people promise amount, but don’t pay on spot and the money received later is deposited in the bank accounts at different times as and when the fund is received. It is the established policy of the organization not to accept foreign funds for its activities, and it has been successful in adhering to this policy without fail. Restriction on remitting Rs 50,000 and above without PAN card is not the instruction of Popular Front, but a bank deposit norm.
Allegation: Rs. 1.34 crore withdrawn from the accounts in multiple small transactions, ranging Rs. 2,000 to Rs. 5,000 between December 4 and January 6.
Fact: Withdrawal from 1st December 2019 to 20th January 2020 from the Popular Front accounts was 97.6 lakhs. The small amounts between 2,000 and 5,000 drawn are amounts given to poor students for their higher studies under Popular Front Scholarship Scheme.
Allegation: The money transferred into these bank accounts were either cash deposits, transferred through NEFT or RTGS or IMPS mode. And the amounts were withdrawn on the same day or within two to three days leaving only minimal amount in these bank accounts.
Fact: Customers generally deposit money to bank accounts as cash/cheque deposits or transferring through NEFT or RTGS or IMPS mode. This is not an offence. These are various modes of remitting money to the bank. Popular Front is not maintaining a Fixed Deposit account, but Current Account, which per se is the account that permits regular remittance and withdrawals. Cash is deposited when available and it is withdrawn every now and then as Popular Front is engaged in routine social work which needs money for its day to day activities.
Allegation: Probe found Rs. 1.04 crore deposited in western UP.
Fact: Popular Front has no bank accounts in UP.
Allegation: Money paid to: Kapil Sibal – Rs. 77 lakh, Indira Jaising - Rs. 4 lakh, Dushyant Dave - Rs. 11 lakh.
Fact: Yes. Popular Front had paid to these advocates through bank account, not for anti-CAA related cases but as their lawyer fees for appearing in Hadiya case in the Supreme Court. These payments were made in 2017–18 and Popular Front State Committee had already published the income and expenditure statement of this case.
Allegation: Money Paid to: PFI Kashmir- Rs. 1.65 Cr, New Jyothi Group – Rs. 1.17 Cr, Abdul Samad - Rs.3.10 lakh.
Fact: Popular Front has no units in Jammu and Kashmir. It had spent Rs. 2.25 crores, not 1.65 crores, to construct houses and for other relief works for the flood affected families in Kashmir in 2014-15. New Jyothi Group is a school bag manufacturer in south India, and they supply school bags to Popular Front for its annual School Chalo program in which the poor school children are given school kits. The total amount paid to New Jyothi Group is more than the alleged amount of Rs. 1.17 crores. And it is not for one year. Abdul Samad is a contractor, and money is paid to him for constructing houses to rehabilitate flood-affected victims.
Everybody knows the fact that in spite of the participation or support of Popular Front in democratic and peaceful protests in different parts of the country, it has no role in any alleged violent incidents connected with the protests. Any impartial enquiry will prove this fact, though it is a remote possibility under a BJP ruled, communally controlled government. Popular Front of India is an organization working to build an India of equal rights to all citizens by empowering the backward and marginalized sections of the society, including Muslims. As a responsible organization that works abiding by the laws of the land, all the activities including the financial transactions of Popular Front have been transparent ever since it started functioning.
Popular Front India bears the heritage of fighting out all unfair hurdles imposed upon it by Hindutva fascist forces. It could overcome such threats through democratic and legal options available to the citizens. Front will continue the same course of action now as well. The organization has full faith in the Indian constitution, the people of India, the idea of secular democratic nation and also in the ultimate victory of truth and fall of falsehood