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PFI Funding fact-check: Lawyers wrongly linked to PFI financing for CAA stir

Media misreporting: Lawyers Kapil Sibal, Indira Jaising, Dushyant Dave wrongly linked with alleged PFI support for anti-CAA protests.

New Delhi| Alt news has fact-checked and revealed that the linking of funding from PFI to the lawyers is a media-made fuss.

Since January 27, reports have emerged that according to an Enforcement Directorate report, Popular Front of India (PFI) mobilised Rs 120 crores during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). According to an Economic Times report, the agency was investigating the Kerala-based political outfit under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) since 2018. ED has reportedly found that at least Rs 1.04 crore was deposited in several bank accounts across the country linked to the organisation between December 4 last year and January 6, 2020.

On January 27 at 12:32 PM, Times Now levelled a series of allegations against prominent Supreme Court lawyers Dushyant Dave, Indira Jaising and Kapil Sibal linking them with the case of money laundering alleged by the Enforcement Directorate. The channel anchor said, “ED draws a sensational link to the lobby”. The official Twitter handle of Indira Jaising and Kapil Sibal were tagged in the Times Now tweet.

According to an ANI report, ED has drawn a correlation between dates of monetary deposits in bank accounts and the dates of anti-CAA protests. Since the agency is reportedly investigating the matter, this article is about facts around the allegation of money received by senior lawyers with regards to the anti-CAA protests.

Alt News found that the allegation raised against senior lawyers, of receiving money from the political outfit, is from March 2018 and unrelated to the recent anti-CAA protests. In 2018, the Kerala state committee of the PFI had revealed the details of the amount it had collected and spent on the legal battle of during the Hadiya case. Hadiya, a 25-year-old woman from Kerala, had converted to Islam and married a Muslim man named Shafin Jahan. The conversion was first annulled by the high court based on a petition filed by her father and later restored by the Supreme Court. She won the case in the apex court on March 8, 2018.

According to a statement released by PFI, it had spent a total of Rs 99,52,324 while fighting Hadiya’s case, dubbed as ‘love jihad case’, for 10 months. PFI had declared that it had paid Rs 93,85,000 as lawyers fees to Kapil Sibal, Dushyant Dave, Indira Jaising and Marzook Bafaki, including others who had appeared in the Supreme Court in the matter.

The lawyers and confirmed the details about the payment. Kapil Sibal vehemently denied the allegation and provided Alt News with a copy of the statement issued by him.

Dushyant Dave rubbished the claims floated by media outlets. He said that he appeared thrice in the Hadiya case on behalf of the petitioners.

Indira Jaising, who also appeared in the case, took to Twitter and denied having received any money from PFI in relation with anti-CAA protests.

Media outlets falsely reported that senior SC lawyers received funds amidst the on-going anti-CAA protests across the country.

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