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Mumbai properties worth ₹500 crore forfeited in Iqbal Mirchi case

A twitter image of Enforcement Directorate.  

Three Mumbai buildings worth about ₹500 crore have been forfeited by the competent authority, based on the evidence gathered by the Enforcement Directorate, in the case involving international drug trafficker, Iqbal Mirchi, who passed away in the United Kingdom in 2013.

Under the Narcotic Drugs & Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, the competent authority forfeited Rabia Mansion, Mariam Lodge and Sea View, all located in Mumbai's Worli. “As per the order, all the transfers/transactions in respect of these properties have been declared null and void,” said the agency.

The ED, during its money laundering probe, found that Iqbal Mirchi, in connivance with one Sir Mohamed Yusuf Trust, had misrepresented about the ownership of these buildings before the competent authority and the courts concerned in 2004-05.

The Trust claimed their ownership before the properties on the pretext that as Iqbal Mirchi had not paid the full amount, the Trust did not hand over the possession to him. “On the basis of this plea, these properties were earlier released from attachment under the NDPS Act in 2005,” the ED said.

On November 6, 2019, the agency apprised the competent authority of the facts and furnished proof establishing that the properties belonged to Iqbal Mirchi.

The evidence included receipts, along with corresponding entries in the bank passbook, issued by the Trust. The ED also found a letter from the Trust regarding the handing over of possession to Iqbal Mirchi, submissions to the Income-Tax Department, admitting to the sale of properties, and other related records.

In the fresh order, the competent authority observed that the previous order in 2005 was obtained through fraud and wilful suppression of documentary evidence, and therefore was invalid. It stated that the Trust had also misled the courts concerned.

In its case, the ED has so far attached assets worth ₹798 crore under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and filed a charge sheet.

Taking cognisance of the charge sheet, a Special Court has issued open ended non-bailable warrants against Iqbal Mirchi's wife Hajra Memon and two sons, Asif and Junaid, who are currently in the United Kingdom. The agency has so far arrested five accused persons.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2021 3:40:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/mumbai-properties-worth-500-crore-forfeited-in-iqbal-mirchi-case/article33128279.ece

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