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133 PFI members, accused of aiding anti-CAA protests, arrested in UP: Police

ED has reportedly found that the recent violent protests in Uttar Pradesh against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) had a ‘financial link’ with the Kerala-based outfit.

SNS | New Delhi |

Uttar Pradesh DGP Harish Chandra Awasthi and Additional Chief Secretary UP Home Department, Awanish Kumar Awasthi on Monday, in a joint press conference, claimed that 108 members of the Popular Front of India (PFI) have been arrested in the last four days for their alleged involvement in protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

The arrests are in addition to the 25 PFI members who were arrested earlier.

Awanish Kumar said that more information is being gathered about the organization, including details of their financial transactions.

“We are also taking assistance from central agencies. Our target is to identify them and take action,” he added.

“This is just the beginning. We will get to the roots of the organisation. A probe is also going on about their financial dealings. We are in touch with central agencies and are sharing information with them. UP is the first state to take this kind of action against the organization.”

Director General of Police (DGP) Hitesh Chandra Awasthi, while giving details, said 14 people were arrested in Lucknow, 21 in Meerut, 20 in Varanasi, 16 in Bahraich, three in Sitapur, nine in Ghaziabad, six in Muzaffarnagar, seven in Shamli, four in Bijnor, five in Kanpur and one each in Gonda, Hapur and Jaunpur.

He said that the state police was also collecting evidence about the financial transactions of PFI which is also being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

He said that they were continuously interacting with the ED and other agencies but declined to comment further on the issue.

The central probe agency has reportedly found that the recent violent protests in Uttar Pradesh against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) had a “financial link” with the Kerala-based outfit.

ED, which is probing the Popular Front of India (PFI) under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) since 2018, has reportedly found that at least Rs 120 crore was deposited in 73 bank accounts in western Uttar Pradesh after the Act was passed by Parliament late last year.

Earlier this month, the Uttar Pradesh Police had said that the PFI was actively involved in the recent violence during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in the state.

In December last, the UP Police had sent a letter to the state home department seeking a ban on the Popular Front of India (PFI), after violent protests against CAA and NRC in the state.

Nearly 20 people were killed during these protests in Uttar Pradesh.