ED to probe money laundering angle in UP religious conversion case

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New Delhi, Jun 25 (PTI) The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has registered a criminal case of money laundering in connection with alleged conversion of some deaf students and poor people to Islam in Uttar Pradesh with purported funding from Pakistani intelligence agency ISI, officials sources said on Friday.

An Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR), the ED equivalent of a Police FIR, has been filed under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), they said.

The matter came to light after the UP Police anti-terrrorist squad (ATS) arrested two men, residents of Jamia Nagar in Delhi, earlier this week. The UP Police had identified the arrested accused as Mufti Qazi Jahangir Alam Qasmi and Mohammad Umar Gautam.

The ATS claimed that they ran an outfit, named Islamic Dawah Center, that purportedly had access to funds from Pakistan's inter-services intelligence (ISI) and other foreign agencies to carry out their alleged illegal activities.

The ED studied this FIR and registered the money laundering case.

Its probe will be focused on the allegation that illicit funds were received from abroad and domestic sources and laundered by the accused and their associates, official sources said.

The agency has powers to attach assets of the accused during the investigation stage and file charge sheet against them before a PMLA court later for prosecution and award of punishment that can range between three and seven years as prescribed under law.

After the arrest, Uttar Pradesh Police ADG (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar had told the media that Gautam, who himself is a convert to Islam from Hinduism, boasted to the police of having converted at least 1,000 people to Islam, luring them with marriage, money and jobs.

The officer said that the ATS had been working on the case after it obtained intelligence that some people were getting funds from ISI and other foreign agencies for converting poor people to Islam and spreading communal enmity in the society.

The two were booked on various charges under the IPC and Uttar Pradesh's stringent anti-conversion law. They, at present, are in police custody. PTI NES SMN SMN

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