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Last Updated : Oct 12, 2019 09:45 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

ED probes NCP leader Praful Patel for links with late gangster Iqbal Mirchi

In a drive that identified Iqbal Mirchi’s properties in India and abroad to the tune of Rs 500 crore, the ED zeroed in on Ceejay House, a 15-storey commercial building in Mumbai’s Worli area, which was owned by Mirchi and redeveloped by Patel’s firm Milennium Developers.

Tarun Sharma @talktotarun

Senior NCP leader and former Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel is being probed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and may be called for questioning in the coming days for allegedly helping late gangster Iqbal Mirchi launder money.

In a drive that identified Iqbal Mirchi’s properties in India and abroad to the tune of Rs 500 crore, the ED zeroed in on Ceejay House, a 15-storey commercial building in Mumbai’s Worli area, which was owned by Mirchi and redeveloped by Patel’s firm Milennium Developers.

As part of the deal between the two parties, Mirchi’s family was handed over two floors in the reconstructed property, measuring about 14,000 square feet.

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Sources in the ED told Moneycontrol that the land, which were previously held under a benami front, was handed over to the Mirchi family, which then went on to launder the money earned during redevelopment.

In response, the NCP released a statement: “The Patel Family bought the property on which Ceejay House has been constructed from Maharaja of Gwalior in the year 1963. The property was in Court Reciever from 1978-2005 due to disputes among co-owners. During this period there was illegal occupant in the premises behind the then building. They were relocated by an Order of the High Court on the third floor when the building was redeveloped. Ceejay House is not owned by any individuals being mentioned in the news report. All documents and Court orders are available on record.”

Mirchi’s assets

Besides his premises in Ceejay House, Iqbal Mirchi has land in Khandala and Panchgani and also owns a hotel in the Mumbai suburbs area, according to ED.

The ED officials are questioning two aides of Mirchi on their links with politicians and builders, who were allegedly involved in transaction of prime properties reportedly belonging to D-company.

The ED on October 11 arrested two men, including the former chairman of a trust and a real-estate broker, for allegedly assisting in the sale of three Worli-based residential properties belonging to the late alleged gangster Iqbal Mirchi.

The purchase of the three assets by late Mirchi, who died in London in 2013, were allegedly made from “proceeds of crime”, according to the ED. The three buildings — Sea View, Marium Lodge and Rabia Mansion — were sold to a firm for Rs 225 crore in 2010, out of which Mirchi allegedly received the majority share.

The ED suspects that Mirchi had allegedly bought a five-star hotel in Dubai from the proceeds of the sale of the three Worli assets, sources said. The arrests were made as part of the agency’s recently-initiated money-laundering probe based on a group of eight cases registered by the city police against late Mirch between 1984 to 1999. The three buildings were allegedly bought from Sir Mohammed Yusuf Trust in September 1986 for an amount of Rs 6.5 lakh through his firm, Rockside Enterprises.

The arrested suspects, Haroun Yusuf, the then chairman of the trust, and the real-estate broker Ranjeet singh Bindra, were accused by ED of “playing an active role in laundering the proceeds of crime and hiding the criminal origins of the property,” said an ED source. “The three properties under the scanner appear to be proceeds of crime and derived directly or indirectly from the criminal activity related to the scheduled offences covered under PMLA,” the source said.

According to ED, Yusuf, a British national since 2004, allegedly played a crucial role in Mirchi’s illegal activities. “He was the chairman of Sir Mohd Yusuf Trust during the time the assets’ sale as transacted,” said a source.

According to the source, ED’s searches yielded records that allegedly showed that the trust had already received the “complete payments for the deal relate to the three Worli-based assets and yet the said fact was always misrepresented by the Trust in various legal forums/courts. “

The source said, “On the basis of the alleged misrepresentation, the Trust was able to restore the properties in its name after attachment under the SAFEMA. The said action of the Trust favoured Mirchi as it did not disclose the fact about the receipt of the complete payment from Mirchi in various courts.”

The second arrested accused, Bindra, had allegedly brokered the sale of three Worli-based assets and had received around “Rs 40-50 crore” as his brokerage.”

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First Published on Oct 12, 2019 09:45 pm
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