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ED takes possession of villas, land in Munnar in money laundering case against PFI

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NEW DELHI, Aug 5 (PTI): The Enforcement Directorate has taken possession of four villas and 6.75 acres of land in Kerala’s Munnar district as part of a money laundering investigation against the banned Popular Front of India.

The assets are worth a total Rs 2.53 crore (book value) and belong to Munnar Villa Vista Pvt Ltd. They were provisionally attached by the federal probe agency on January 7 and the adjudicating authority of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) confirmed it on June 30, the ED said in a statement on Saturday.

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The order of the adjudicating authority paved way for the agency to take possession of the land and the four villas, it said.

The Popular Front of India (PFI) was banned under provisions of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) in September last year over its alleged links with terror activities.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) said PFI leaders and members associated with overseas entities were developing a residential project — Munnar Villa Vista Project (MVVP) — at Munnar with a motive to “launder” money collected from foreign countries as well as within the country, and to generate funds for PFI to “finance” its radical activities and the project was being developed by forming a company in the name of Munnar Villa Vista Pvt Ltd (MVVPL).

The agency said its probe found “infusion of a large volume of unaccounted cash in the project, subscription of shares of MVVPL in cash in the name of ghost shareholders, transfer of shares of MVVPL without any consideration, and bogus transfers made to other companies without any supply of goods or services”.

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The money laundering case stems from a National Investigation Agency (NIA) FIR which alleged that a group of PFI/SDPI (Socialist Democratic Party of India) activists entered into a criminal conspiracy to impart training to their cadres in use of explosives and weapons, and organised a “terrorist camp” at Narath in Kannur.

The PFI was formed in 2006 in Kerala and had its headquarters in Delhi.

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