Popular Front of India’s student wing leader K A Rauf Sharif had received huge amounts of money in his bank accounts through suspicious transactions, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) alleged in a court here on Sunday. The ED arrested Sharif, after he was apprehended by authorities at the Thiruvananthapuram airport on Saturday, official sources said.
Sharif was “evading” ED summons in connection with a criminal money laundering probe being conducted against the Kerala-based PFI. In a remand report submitted in a court here today, the ED stated that Sharif had funded the trip of Sidhique Kappan, a Delhi-based Kerala journalist and three others to Hathras in Uttar Pradesh, where a Dalit woman died after being allegedly gang-raped.
Kappan and three others were arrested by the UP police in October while being on their way to Hathras with an “ulterior motives of disturbing social harmony and inciting communal riots.” The trip was funded by Campus Front of India national general secretary K A Rauf Sharif, who transferred the money for the said purpose to the bank account of one of those arrested, the agency said in the report. The central agency alleged that Sharif maintains three bank accounts and an analysis of the accounts revealed a total credit and debit of Rs 1.35 crore in one of them during 2018- 20.
Also, a foreign remittance of Rs 29.18 lakh was received during April-June 2020 from two people and the purpose of remittance has been mentioned in the bank records as “payments to hotels by nationals of all FATF compliant countries /NRIs for their stay.” “This purpose looks suspicious as it implies that Rauf Sharif either owns a hotel in India or Oman for which payments were made by the duo for stay even though hotels were not operational during the period April-June 2020 due to COVID. Additionally, there are major high value expenses by Sharif for purpose of land and vehicle purchase”, the report added.
Besides, it was found that there was a credit/debit of Rs 20 lakhs in his Axis Bank account during 2020. The ED said during the recording of Sharif’s statement at Kochi zonal office of the directorate, he did not divulge information about his foreign remittances.
He was evasive in his response and did not cooperate with the investigation, the ED said in the report seeking his judicial remand. Considering the plea, the court sent Sharif to 14-day judicial remand.