New Delhi/Mumbai, Dec 11 | Cracking the whip on the terror funding, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached seven properties worth Rs 600 crore, acquired by underworld don Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar’s close aide late Iqbal Mirchi and his family members.
The ED action comes two days after the financial probe agency filed a chargesheet in the money laundering probe against Mirchi and his family members in a Mumbai PMLA court.
The financial probe agency said that the attached properties include commercial buildings — Ceejay House located at Worli and Arun Chambers in Tardeo area of Mumbai, are worth Rs 76 crore.
The central probe agency said that the other attached properties worth Rs 500 crore include Sahil Bungalow, Rabia Manison, Marium Lodge and Sea View at prime Worli locations. Three commercial shops in Crawford market and five acre land in Lonawala, have also been attached.
According to the ED officials, Mirchi indirectly owned these properties in Mumbai and some other parts of Maharashtra. The agency said that during probe, the ED identified Iqbal Mirchi’s 30 properties in London, Dubai and Mumbai worth over Rs 1,000 crore.
The agency in a statement said that Mirchi family owned 14,000 square feet on third and fourth floors of 15-storey Ceejay House commercial property.
“This building was redeveloped by Millennium Developer. Certain parts of the plot were in possession of M. K. Mohammad earlier. Mirchi entered into an agreement with Mohammad to acquire the rights to the property in the name of his wife Hajra Memon for Rs 9 lakh in 1986. Though a payment of only Rs 20,000 was made. The possession of the property was taken by Memon the same year,” the agency claimed.
The agency further claimed that Mirchi started a discotheque by the name of Fisherman’s Wharf on the same property. “Later, at the time of redevelopment, Mirchi was given two floors in the newly constructed Ceejay House in the name of his wife and sons,” it said.
According to the ED, the 15-storey commercial building was a joint venture between Mirchi and Millennium Developers Private Limited in 2006-07.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Praful Patel, who owns two flats in Ceejay House and is also a shareholder of Millennium Developers, is also under ED’s scanner and has already been questioned by the agency.
Explaining the transactions of the other properties, ED said, “Transactions for other properties were done to hide the criminal origin of the funds used in acquiring those properties. Sahil Bungalow was acquired by Mirchi in the name of his wife and brother (Aslam Merchant) and sister (Zaibunnisaa Mohammad Memon). Later, both his brother and sister transferred their shares to his wife,” the agency said.
The ED said that besides these properties, three others located in Mumbai’s Worli were sold to Sunblink Realtors Private and Millennium Developers. Sunblink paid Rs 111.80 crore to various persons and entities (including Mirchi) in India in relation to this deal, while Mirchi was paid Rs 154 crore in Dubai.
“With this money, Mirchi bought a hotel named Midwest Apartment in Dubai for UAED 93 million,” it said.
The ED further said that the ownership of these three properties is still with Sir Yusuf Mohammed Trust run by another accused Haroun Yusuf, which acted in collusion with Mirchi. According to the ED, the Trust was proxy owner on behalf of Mirchi.
Another property in Lonawala was earlier in the name of Hajra Iqbal Memon. But in 2005 its ownership was transferred to White Water Developer, a company formed by Humayun Merchant, a close aide of Mirchi, who controlled his properties in India. The Lonawala land had been transferred without any consideration to Memon’s two sons in 2010.
Mirchi died in London, UK, after suffering a heart attack in 2013. The ED investigation has also revealed that Mirchi’s family owns 25 properties in the UK that were purchased using proceeds from crimes committed in India.