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ED tightens noose on underworld-political nexus in Mumbai
Mumbai, Oct 13 - Even as the Enforcement Directorate (ED) is probing the political-underworld nexus related to properties owned by underworld don Dawood Ibrahim's associate Iqbal Mirchi, former Union Minister and senior Nationalist Congress Part (NCP) leader Praful Patel has clarified that he had no dealings with them.
A senior ED source told IANS that the financial probe agency is all set to grill Patel in the coming days for allegedly helping Mirchi, who died in 2013 in the UK, to launder money.
The source said that the ED has identified Mirchi's properties in India and abroad to the tune of Rs 500 crore.
He said the agency zeroed in on Ceejay House, a 15-storey commercial building in Mumbai's upscale Worli area, which was owned by Mirchi and redeveloped by Milennium Developers allegedly linked with Patel and his wife Varsha Patel.
As per the list of Mirchi's properties located in India and the UK, Ceejay House was constructed as a JV between Mirchi and Millenium Developers Pvt Ltd in 2006-07, according to the ED source.
In 2007, the third and fourth floors of the building were given to Mirchi's family by Millenium Developers.
Patel and his wife own a significant number of shares in Millenium Developers Pvt Ltd.
The source said that the ED investigation has revealed that Mirchi amassed various properties in India and overseas from the proceeds of crime generated through various illegal offences. The agency has identified several properties in Mumbai owned by Mirchi and his family member.
On Saturday, the ED questioned two aides of Mirchi on their links with politicians and builders, who were allegedly involved in transaction of prime properties reportedly belonging to Dawood Ibrahim's D-company. The accused, who are from Mumbai, have been identified as Haroun Yusuf and Ranjeet Singh Bindra.
Bindra acted as a broker for the land deal while Yusuf transferred the money to a trust and facilitated the deal. The agency found that Yusuf became a British national in 2004 and played a crucial role in illegal land deals between Mirchi and developers that were carried out by Bindra for brokerage of around Rs 30 crore.
According to the ED, the purchase of the three assets by late the Mirchi, who died in London in 2013, were allegedly made from the proceeds of crime. 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.
On Saturday, the NCP released a statement stating that the Patel family bought the property on which Ceejay House has been constructed from the Maharaja of Gwalior in 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," it said.
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