The News Scroll 07 July 2020  Last Updated at 11:23 pm | Source: PTI

ED may inform Kerala govt about role of its employee and PFI chief in PMLA case

ED may inform Kerala govt about role of its employee and PFI chief in PMLA case
(Eds: Adding Abdul Salam''s reaction)

New Delhi, Jul 7 (PTI) The Enforcement Directorate (ED) may soon update the Kerala government about the role of its employee O M Abdul Salam, who is also PFI''s chairman, in a money laundering case related to alleged financial links between the Islamic organisation and anti-CAA protests in the country, officials said on Tuesday.

The central probe agency had recorded the statement of Salam, a senior Assistant in Kerala State Electricity Board, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in February.

Salam was then the vice chairman of PFI and he is stated to be posted at the regional audit office of the electricity board in Manjeri town of Kerala''s Malappuram district.

Sources said the agency may soon inform the Kerala government about his role in PFI activities and the evidences gathered by it on the basis of his statement and that of others being probed as part of this case.

The government concerned needs to be informed about the role of any of its employees who are being probed in a criminal case, the sources said.

They, however, did not divulge if they had any incriminating evidence against Salam.

In response to PTI''s query on his association with a private organisation despite being a Kerala government official, Salam said, "There is no rule or notification that specifically prohibits an employee associating with Popular Front of India."

"I am working as senior assistant in Kerala state electricity board which is a public sector undertaking. As part of my social commitment I am associated outside my office duty with PFI which is a social organisation," he said. 

"As I understand, there are many other KSEB  employees who are associated with social, cultural and religious organisations in various capacities," Salam said.

"In fact, this is yet another controversy purposefully created by  those forces that are opposed to our organisation. Unfortunately some government  agencies are being misused to tarnish and isolate Popular Front members and leaders by various malicious means such as false cases,  probes, interrogations," he alleged.

"We firmly believe that as we work within Indian constitution and other laws of the land and for the benefit of the society, our members have the moral and legal rights to be in goverment service and public sector jobs just like any other citizens," Salam said.

When Salam was first summoned by the ED early this year, he informed the agency that he is working with the state electricity board and sought some adjournments for his appearance on the grounds of completing some work "assigned" to him by the department, officials said.

Salam later joined the questioning after he was asked by the ED to depose without fail as it was important to record his statement to take the probe forward, they said.

The federal probe agency, which is investigating the PFI under PMLA since 2018, has found that at least Rs 1.04 crore were deposited in several bank accounts linked to the organisation between December 4 last year and January 6 in various parts of the country.

The sources said a total amount of Rs 120 crore, credited to bank accounts linked to the PFI, are under the ED''s scanner.

"The Popular Front of India has stated it multiple times that we fully comply with the law of the land and the allegation of Rs 120 crore transferred from the Popular Front''s accounts just before the CAA protests is totally baseless and the people who are levelling these allegations should prove these claims," the organisation had earlier said in a statement.

The PFI was formed in 2006 in Kerala.

The ED is also probing remittances and withdrawal of funds from nine bank accounts of another organisation called Rehab India, officials said, apart from a deposit of Rs 20 lakh from Dubai in its accounts.

It is also investigating PFI''s links to the Delhi riots after it booked suspended Aam Admi Party (AAP) councillor Tahir Hussain and others in a separate money laundering case.

On Tuesday, Kerala IT Secretary M Sivasankar was removed as secretary to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in the backdrop of a gold smuggling controversy, where the role of a former woman employee of the IT department is being probed. PTI NES ZMN

Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI
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