Mirchi land deals: ED to grill Praful Patel on Friday

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Praful Patel

New Delhi,  The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is all set to question former Union Minister and senior Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Praful Patel for alleged deals between Millennium Developers promoted by him and his wife Varsha with the underworld don Dawood Ibrahim’s close aide late Iqbal Mirchi’s family members and also about the money transactions with over a dozen of shell companies, official sources said on Thursday.

The ED has summoned Patel for questioning on Friday at its Mumbai office and will record his statement under the sections of Prevention of Money Laundering (PMLA) Act.

The source said that the financial probe agency will ask Patel about the deal of Millenium Developers with the Hajera Memon, first wife of Mirchi.

The ED officials have contended that Patel’s company Millennium Developers Pvt Ltd constructed a building called Ceejay House in 2006-07. The Millennium Developers constructed a 15-storey building on a plot allegedly owned by Mirchi, an aide of Dawood Ibrahim, who runs an international crime syndicate having deep roots in Mumbai and Dubai.

In the Ceejay House, two floors were transferred to Mirchi’s wife. However, the NCP leader claimed that she got these through M. K. Mohammad who earlier owned restaurants on the property that was knotted in legal disputes. However, Patel has denied any wrongdoing or any links with financial dealing with Mirchi or his associates.

The ED source further said that the agency will also ask Patel about over a dozen of shell companies identified during questioning of several people linked with Mirchi’s family.

The probe agency earlier this week had questioned Mirchi’s brother-in-law Mukhtar Memon, who controls most of the properties in India.

On Saturday, the ED also 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 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.

The source further said that the agency will also question about the financial dealing of Patel as the agency has identified several bank accounts through which the laundered money were routed to London.