New Delhi: The properties of Iqbal Memon — also known as Iqbal Mirchi, who was underworld don Dawood Ibrahim's right hand man — that are under the Enforcement Directorate (ED) scanner, were layered to conceal the illegal proceeds of crime. It is also alleged that he enjoyed the support of some people in power. Firstpost has accessed documents that show that the process to seize his assets (either in his name or in the name of any other persons on his behalf) in India were not taken up seriously.
The first of these documents was filed by the narcotics department, that had issued a show cause notice to Mirchi under the Illicit Traffic in Narcotics Drugs and Pyschotropic Substances Act, 1988 on 17 December, 1999 to seize 39 of his properties in India. Later, three buildings — Rabia Mansion, Mariam Lodge and Sea View at Worli — were excluded from the list as they were claimed by the 'Sir Mohammed Yusuf Trust'. The list of properties was received from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) that was chasing Mirchi.
It was mentioned in the CBI documents that Mirchi had disclosed these properties in his income tax returns. The Central probe agency had further noted that the list of Mirchi's properties was received from Income Tax authorities. However, things changed quickly in 2005 when Income Tax authorities on 9 March, 2005 gave details of Mirchi's assets to the Office of Competent Authority, NDPSA in Mumbai, without providing any substantial evidence. This was shocking since entire case was built on the evidence that the properties were illegal proceeds of crime.
The Competent Authority said tax authorities failed to produce evidence to seize the assets.
"Income Tax authorities have not supplied any material or document under which Mirchi came to acquire the subject properties. The mere reflection of certain properties in one's balance sheet is not conclusive proof to hold that those properties have been acquired by him, when all other evidences like property card, assessment record reveal that those properties are owned and possessed by other persons," the Competent Authority noted.
The issue dragged on for some time while the CBI and ED continued to gather documentary evidence to show Mirchi, with his base in London, was expanding his empire in West Asia and Europe. The probe hit further roadblocks in 2004 and despite evidence on record, it moved at a snail's pace. Firstpost reviewed another document which said that as early as in 2007, another red flag was raised regarding Mirch's wife Hajra Memon and her declaration which is now tied to NCP leader Praful Patel. The statement in 2009 said the since November 2004, Hajra has been part-owner of the premises at Millennium Developers Private Limited Limited, Ceejay House.
"Hajra is the part-owner of the premises at Millennium Developers Private Limited, Ceejay House, Unit Nos 301, 302, 303, 402, 403 and has a 60 percent share, as per documents dated 4 November, 2004; 21 February, 2007 and 26 September, 2007. Further she is filing returns of income tax which disclosed gross rental income from property at Millennium Developers Private Limited from Unit Nos 301, 302, 303 worth Rs 97.79 Lakh for the year ending 31 March, 2008 as per acknowledgment of filing of income tax return and of Rs. 2.6 crore for the year ending 31 March, 2009 as per computation of income," the statement said.
Patel has denied any financial deal between the company promoted by his family and Mirchi's family. On Tuesday, the former Union minister asserted that the 2004 agreement was to provide alternative accommodation and there was no financial deal, but if the government felt that the transaction was illegal, it could take over the property. Patel has been summoned by the ED to appear before it on Friday.
Another red flag was raised by the ED sometime in October 2012 when it intercepted an email from Mirchi about another property deal in London. But, it appears from the document trail that not much progress was made. Mirchi on 5 October, 2012 sent an email to one Abdul about a deal related to a hotel close to Cannon Street in London. Mirchi told Abdul that he would give him a commission of one percent if the deal was finalised. ED sources said they had gathered information that drug money was involved in the deal and it was shared with UK authorities.
Updated Date: Oct 16, 2019 13:28:05 IST