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ED may file case under PMLA against website for criminal conspiracy in Hathras

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New Delhi, Oct 5, 2020-

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is examining an FIR registered by the Hathras police against a website for criminal conspiracy to incite communal violence in Uttar Pradesh following the recent brutal murder of a Dalit girl.

Top sources told that the ED may file a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against the website ‘JusticeforHathras’ created on the platform carrd.com, as preliminary investigation has indicated funding for violent protests from a dubious organisation.

The Uttar Pradesh Police have filed an FIR in the Chandpa police station in Hathras district under as many as 20 different sections, including criminal conspiracy and Information Technology Act, 2008.

The police claimed that the protests in the Hathras case was a major ploy to destabilise the Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government, using a website with foreign links.

The FIR suspected that a website named ‘JusticeforHathras’ was created to disseminate fake information related to the Hathras incident to provoke caste-related violence across the state, where caste lines are deep and entrenched.

Sources said that after the website was tracked and some related places were raided, the site deactivated and disappeared overnight. However, the law and order agencies have secured all the inflammatory content of the website.

The police said the website shared information about nationwide protests on the Hathras case and ways to evade police action.

The website was also used as a platform for raising foreign funds on the same pattern as anti-CAA rioting in Delhi, sources said, adding that radical extremist groups like PFI could be behind it.

Sources said the FIR has been filed under Section 153 A and others which are scheduled offences under the PMLA and all the money collected by committing this crime is liable to be confiscated by the ED. The action can be followed with arrests and prosecution which entails a jail term of seven years under the PMLA.

The ED will make foreign enquiries and also find out from the domain servers the details of the money collected and utilised thereof.

Sources said the ED will also examine the ultimate beneficiaries of the money collected by this website. The service provider will be questioned about the website which hosted this page as it should mandatorily have IP address records from where the web page was launched.

Sources said the ED will also get traffic analysis from the CERT for first IP resolution and IPDR analysis of suspects to check if they all tried to access the site before it became public to check collaborations and coordination.

The ED will also check the email ids and phone numbers used to buy domain or host and conduct reverse investigation on them.  (Agency)

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