The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has taken possession of four villas and 6.75 acres of land in Munnar, Kerala, belonging to the Popular Front of India (PFI). The assets are worth a total of Rs 2.53 crore (book value).
The ED had provisionally attached the assets on January 7, 2023, and the adjudicating authority of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) confirmed the attachment on June 30, 2023. The order of the adjudicating authority paved way for the ED to take possession of the land and the four villas.
The PFI was banned under provisions of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) in September 2022 over its alleged links with terror activities. The ED is investigating the PFI’s financial dealings and the assets that it has acquired.
The four villas that have been taken possession of by the ED are located in Munnar Villa Vista Pvt Ltd, a company that is owned by PFI leader MK Ashraf. Ashraf is the state vice president of the PFI and he is currently lodged in the Tihar Jail in Delhi.
The ED is investigating whether the assets that have been attached were acquired by the PFI through illegal means. The agency is also probing whether the PFI has used these assets to fund its activities.
The ED’s action against the PFI is part of a larger crackdown on the organization by the Indian government. The government has also banned the PFI’s sister organization, the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI).
The ban on the PFI and the SDPI has been met with protests from the organizations’ supporters. However, the government has defended the ban, saying that it is necessary to prevent the PFI and the SDPI from spreading communal hatred and violence.