Mumbai

Iqbal Mirchi’s wife, sons declared economic fugitives

A special Prevention of Money Laundering Act court in Mumbai on Friday declared the wife and two sons of late gangster Iqbal Mirchi as fugitive economic offenders in a money laundering case.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) in December had moved an application seeking that the court “declare Junaid Iqbal Memon and Asif Iqbal Memon (sons of Mirchi) and Hajra Memon (wife) as fugitive economic offenders”.

ED had filed a complaint against these three and 13 other accused in December last year stating that Mirchi had bought properties in India using money earned through illegal activities and later also sold them for redevelopment.

The agency’s complaint mentioned that the three family members were the beneficiaries of the assets earned by Mirchi through proceeds of crime. ED has alleged that Mirchi had purchased three assets – Sea View, Marium Lodge and Rabia Mansion – in 1986.

Officers claimed Mirchi was involved in narcotics smuggling and operated an extortion racket for several years and listed eight cases to prove his involvement in criminal activities since 1984.

A case filed in 1994 at MRA Marg police station was taken as the base case to initiate a money-laundering inquiry against him.

ED also claimed that Mirchi used a Trust as a front and began negotiating with several developers to redevelop the properties. Between 1981 and 2010, the original tenants were replaced with Mirchi’s relatives. The agency stated that by 2005, almost all tenants were Mirchi’s nominees and were planted by Humayun Merchant in connivance with Haroun Yusuf, both aides of Mirchi.

In 2007, a deal was finalised between the Trust and a developer – Joy Home Creations Pvt Limited – after a meeting with Mirchi in London. In 2010, Mirchi allegedly threatened the developer to withdraw, as he failed to make payments as promised. Later, in 2010, Sunblink Real Estate Pvt Limited took over the project. The central agency mentions Ranjeet Singh Bindra as the broker for the deal and was to get ₹40 crore or ₹50 crore as brokerage from Sunblink. As part of the deal signed between Merchant, Joy Home Creation and Sunblink Real Estate, the tenancy rights were transferred to Sunblink for consideration of ₹225 crore.

Most of the payments were done in 2010 and around ₹43 crore was to be paid by November this year. According to ED, ₹127 crore has been paid to Merchant till date. However, as per the records, payment of ₹60 crore has only been made to Merchant, while the rest was transferred through hawala channels. Referring to the statement of a witness, ED has stated a payment of 90 million dirham was made to the UAE through hawala, which was then used for purchase of a five-star hotel in Dubai.

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Printable version | Apr 13, 2021 10:45:26 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/iqbal-mirchis-wife-sons-declared-economic-fugitives/article33945305.ece

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