KANPUR: Hayat Zafar Hashmi, the main accused in the June 3 violence in the city, has revealed several sources, including builders, businessmen and political functionaries, who were involved in funding his organisation.
“Hashmi has accepted that he was involved in crowdfunding. Besides, he got a huge amount of money through donations from across the state that came to his Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar Fans Association. He also accepted that people from many districts of the state are associated with his organization,” an investigator told TOI on the condition of anonymity.
Hashmi and his three aides who, police claim, are members of the Popular Front of India (PFI) were taken on remand on Saturday. The Enforcement Directorate (ED), meanwhile, has also approached the Kanpur police seeking details of these three PFI members — Saifullah, Mohammad Naseem and Mohammad Umar — who were arrested from Kanpur on June 9.
Officials probing the case said that while Hashmi revealed the sources of funding, he has maintained silence about questions related to their direct link with the violence at Parade and its adjoining areas on June 3 after Friday prayer.
“He also tried to save his skin several times saying that he had withdrawn the call given by him earlier to protest against the insult of the Prophet by the BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma in a news channel debate,” said the official.
The other accused arrested along with Hashmi, however, have admitted to being involved in the violence, said the official.
Hashmi and his three aides are on a two-day remand starting from Saturday. Officials of ATS and SIT have interrogated him and his associates in several rounds at a police station in South city ’s area.
The ATS sources said that there are more than two dozen white-collared people on its radar. The officers have prepared their list after thorough investigation. In this, the white-collared people involved in the violence helped anti-social elements from backstage, said sources.
Name of a woman from Lucknow has also surfaced during investigation. “At the same time, the Lucknow connections of Javed, who was arrested along with Hashmi, from Lucknow, are being probed,” said sources.
Meanwhile, the ED is planning to scan financial transactions of the PFI members to ascertain if there was any money-laundering by them. The ED scanner came on PFI members after Kanpur police picked up leads that the prime accused Hashmi was in touch with the three and could have possibly obtained funds from them for mobilizing the crowd and staging the protest.
“All three, Saifullah, Mohammad Naseem and Mohammad Umar, bearing affiliation to PFI, were also identified during violence in 2019. They had also been arrested during the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in 2019,” said Vijay Singh Meena, Kanpur police commissioner, while talking to journalists.
The ED sources said that first they will take details of the case from the Kanpur police and then scan the transactions of the three accused, and Hayat Zafar.
On June 3, a dozen persons were reportedly injured in a clash in Kanpur in a protest over an alleged ‘insult’ to Prophet Mohammed during a debate on a prominent TV channel. Mobs hurled bombs and pelted stones at each other after groups of people tried to force shopkeepers to down shutters in Nai Sadak and Yateemkhana areas of the city after Friday prayers.
Last year, the ED in its chargesheet had said that Popular Front of India (PFI) men got finances from foreign nations and used them in disturbing communal harmony in Hathras after alleged gangrape of a Dalit girl which led to her death in September 2020.