PFI used Abu Dhabi restaurant as hub for hawala deals: ED | India News – Times of India


NEW DELHI: The Popular Front of India (PFI) has thousands of active members in Gulf countries where it has raised substantial funds and is sending them to India through hawala transactions, the Enforcement Directorate has said. This is contrary to the claims made by PFI that most of the Rs 120 crore it had received came through petty cash donations in India.
The agency has said its probe has revealed that the Thejas newspaper acted as the front’s mouthpiece both in India and the Gulf, where the outfit had raised funds and misled authorities back in India by creating fake donation receipts.
PFI officebearers, many of whom have been in detention, used Abu Dhabi’s Darbar restaurant as the den for all hawala transactions and their illegal transfer to India, ED has said. Abdul Razak BP, arrested earlier in the money laundering case against PFI, was involved in carrying out the money laundering activities of PFI and related entities through Darbar restaurant. He received proceeds of crime from his brother who was managing Darbar restaurant in Abu Dhabi, the ED has said.
Another company owned by Razak — Tamar India Spices Pvt Ltd — was also used to launder proceeds of crime. “Shafeeque Payeth worked for two years in Gulf Thejas Daily as a business development manager till 2018. Gulf Thejas Daily is the arm of Thejas Newspaper which is published by Intermedia Publishing Ltd in which Abdul Razak BP was one of the directors at that time,” the ED has said in its remand note against Payeth who was arrested on Thursday in Kerala.
Payeth, who is the founding member of the PFI since 2007, was given the responsibility of collecting funds from Qatar. Abdul Razak used his personal network in Abu Dhabi and allegedly converted Darbar restaurant as the money laundering centre, according to ED.
The kingpin of all the major fund collections and hawala dealings in the Gulf was, however, Ashraf MK, who was member of the PFI Kerala state executive council and also served as the PFI president of Ernakulam. Ashraf is also an accused in the Professor Joseph hand chopping case of 2010. The ED probe reveals that he was also involved in the funding of PFI as well as related entities and was the owner of Darbar restaurant in Abu Dhabi which served as a money laundering front of PFI, the agency has claimed.
“However, to conceal the laundering of proceeds of crime through Darbar restaurant, he did not disclose the fact of its ownership before authorities in India and instead made Abdul Razak BP as his front who was involved with him in carrying out the money laundering activities of PFI & related entities through Darbar restaurant,”ED has said.

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