UP STF gets 5-day custody of PFI's student wing leader Rauf Shareef

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Mathura (UP), Feb 17 (PTI) A court here sent Popular Front of India's student wing leader Rauf Shareef to police custody for five days on Wednesday in a case of alleged funding of PFI members for creating unrest after the Hathras gangrape incident.

The Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force (STF) sought a 10-day remand of Shareef, against whom a production warrant had been issued by the court.

Shareef had been brought from Ernakulam jail in Kerala where he was lodged after being arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in December in a money laundering case.

Madhuban Datt Chaturvedi, counsel for Shareef, opposed the remand plea, saying the STF had not specified the reason for seeking his custodial interrogation.

He urged the court to provide a translator for Shareef during the interrogation by the STF since he only understands Malayalam.

He also requested a video recording of the interrogation process to make sure that Shareef's replies reflect his understanding of the question.

“Overruling the objections presented by the defence counsel, Additional District and Sessions Judge Anil Kumar Pandey on the request of the STF has sent Rauf Shareef to PCR for five days,” district government counsel Shiv Ram Singh said.

Shareef's counsel said he would now move the Allahabad High Court for relief.

The remand will be from 10 AM on February 18 till 10 AM on February 23.

The court had issued a warrant for production Shareef, who is the fifth accused in the case.

In a remand report submitted in court in Kerala, the ED had alleged that Shareef, who is the leader of Campus Front of India, had funded the trip of Sidhique Kappan, a Delhi-based Kerala journalist, and three other alleged PFI activists to Hathras in Uttar Pradesh, where a Dalit woman died after being allegedly gang-raped.

Kappan and the three others were arrested by the Uttar Pradesh police in October while they were on their way to Hathras.

It was alleged they had 'ulterior motives of disturbing social harmony and inciting communal riots' and were charged with serious offenses including sedition.

The Uttar Pradesh government has been demanding a ban on the Popular Front of India (PFI), accusing it of inciting riots in the state during the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act. PTI CORR RT RT