On April 13, Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials arrested MK Ashraf, a Kerala-based Popular Front of India (PFI) member, in connection with a money-laundering investigation. Ashraf is from Muvattupuzha near Ernakulam and goes by many aliases, ie. Asharaf M.K/ Tamar Ashraf/Ashraf Khader. He is also accused of the amputation of Professor TJ Joseph’s right hand in July 2010, alleging blasphemy of Islam’s prophet.
ED officers had summoned Ashraf to Delhi, where he was grilled multiple times by the agency and was finally arrested after the latest round of questioning. An earlier incident in March made sure that Ashraf did not have any loopholes to escape this time around.
Ashraf is now the Kerala state executive council member of PFI. He was produced before a local court in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, and sent to ED custody until April 19. PFI is an Islamic organization with alleged terror links to ISIS and the Pakistani spy agency ISI. Based out of Delhi, the PFI was formed in 2006 in Kerala. It also receives significant funds from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) nations and had been involved in several incidents of fomenting communal violence in Bharat.
In December 2021, ED officials had raided the residences of PFI members; Shafeeque Payeth at Peringathur in Kannur, Abdul Razzak BP at Perumpadappu in Malappuram, Ashraf in Muvattupuzha, and the office premises of Munnar Villa Vista Project at Mankulam in Munnar. Except for Mankulam, the rest are strongholds of radical Islamists, and Muslims are the majority. PFI terrorists immediately assembled in large groups and threatened the ED officials. Had they not been given sizeable CRPF cover, they would not have come out alive.
Local media downplayed the incidents and termed the intimidation tactics of the PFI as mere ‘disruption’ of ED search operations. There is a striking difference when these so-called journalists report our national agencies’ raids and arrests of known anti-national elements. The fact that the PFI terrorists in Kerala openly threatened journalists also helped. PFI infiltration in the media is also well documented.
ED officers seized incriminating pieces of evidence, documents, and digital devices during those raids. They were related to foreign funding and acquiring properties abroad and in Bharat by the PFI. Seized documents indicated the money laundering activities of PFI through various projects in Kerala.
They included the Munnar Villa Vista project, which the PFI leaders are building to allegedly launder proceeds of crime generated in Bharat and abroad. A bar and restaurant in Abu Dhabi also came to the notice of the ED, and it is under investigation. ED officers filed an Enforcement Crime Information Report (ECIR) against the organization before the Delhi High Court based on the evidence collected.
PFI challenged “the very legality” of the ECIR. Investigations into the violent February 2020 anti-CAA protests in Delhi found that at least Rs 120 crore transfers had occurred across 73 bank accounts linked to PFI after Parliament passed the CAA. These funds were routed from some foreign shores and used by PFI affiliates to fuel violent anti-CAA protests.
In court, Congress ecosystem senior lawyers like Kapil Sibal, Indira Jaising, and Dushyant Dave fought for the PFI and even got a few accused released on bail. We also saw a similar Congress ecosystem intervention during the more recent ‘hijab row’ that rocked Karnataka when lawyers like Sanjay Hegde and Devdutt Kamat fought on behalf of the PFI-instigated petitioners.
On March 9, immigration authorities intercepted Abdul Razzak BP from Kozhikode airport near Malappuram. Razzak’s detention was against an ED Lookout Circular (LOC) issued against Razzak trying to escape from Bharat.
He is the divisional president of the PFI. The December raids in Kerala had led to the seizure of incriminating documents linked to the case being probed by the ED against him. Like Ashraf, Razzak also faces money laundering charges to raise foreign funds for anti-national activities. ED officials later took Razzak into custody, and he was produced before the special court in Uttar Pradesh’s Lucknow and remanded to ED custody.
The ED is also probing Razzak’s connection with funding to disturb communal harmony and incite riots after the tragic death of a Hindu SC girl in 2020 in Hathras, Uttar Pradesh. The charge sheet in that case, too, has been filed by the ED before the special court in Lucknow.
Ashraf understood that the noose was tightening around him, following which he mellowed down and agreed to ED interrogation in Delhi. The investigation seems to be coming full circle.
In Kerala, PFI leaders reportedly own large hotel chains and business ventures with Hindu names. These prominent businessmen and PFI officials are alleged to be behind black money and hawala transactions. Up to 40% of profits are set aside by Islamic fundamentalist businessmen for the PFI. It is believed that jihadis then use the proceeds for political assassinations and to protect the killers. As if the discriminatory Halal economy was not enough, Hindus in Kerala now face another round of economic jihad.
The central home ministry seems to have noted the chronology of events. Home Minister Amit Shah will visit Kerala on April 29. Until and unless the economic roots of jihad are uprooted, Bharat will continue to burn.
Professor TJ Joseph
Professor TJ Joseph, who had his hand chopped off, never got justice. His wife allegedly committed ‘suicide.’ Back then, Muslim intellectuals pointed out, “Some of these groups (fundamental Islamists) have more funds than even mainline political parties like the Congress or the CPM, and can hire any number of hands.”
Speaking of these very same extremists, at a press conference in Delhi, the then Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan stated: “They (radical Islamists) want to turn Kerala into a Muslim-majority state in 20 years. They are using money and other inducements to convert people to Islam. They even marry women from outside their community to increase the Muslim population.
Interestingly, student groups affiliated with the Congress and the Indian Union Muslim League took out a protest march against the professor back then.