Two years after the Income-Tax department conducted searches on controversial meat exporter Moin Qureshi in February 2014, the case against him has become one of the biggest to be registered under the 2015 Black Money Act. Officials in the I-T department said that Qureshi has recently been slapped with notices under the new Act for maintaining undisclosed foreign bank accounts with balances of over Rs 100 crore. Two accounts of Moin Qureshi have been traced following the tax probe against him, both in the Hong Kong Branch of BSI Bank, one of the oldest Swiss wealth managers.
While deposit and transaction details in BSI Bank are already with the department, requests for information in his case for suspected offshore companies and accounts are pending with authorities in South Africa, Jersey and Bermuda. Further notices could be dispatched in his name for undisclosed offshore assets under the Black Money Act.
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It is the I-T investigation wing which apprised the Enforcement Directorate (ED) about details of Qureshi’s undisclosed offshore assets as well as the results of their investigation, following which the latter agency registered a case under the Prevention of Money laundering Act (PMLA).
More importantly, the I-T department has earlier this year apprised the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) of the contents of Qureshi’s intercepted telephone conversations as well as the contents of BBM messages retrieved from his telephone. As reported first by The Indian Express, several BBM messages were exchanged with former CBI Director A P Singh, and it is understood that all references to CBI cases in the messages are currently under the scanner.
The Moin Qureshi probe has already resulted in a spate of legal actions, with Qureshi himself first approaching the Settlement Commission for a reprieve from prosecution, which was denied to him. The I-Tax department subsequently registered a prosecution complaint against him in a Delhi court. That ongoing case has been filed by the department under Section 277 of the I-T Act on account of Qureshi lying on oath about the number of lockers he maintained, and the department being able to trace more than 10 lockers which he had denied operating. When he was questioned immediately after the February 2014 raids, Qureshi had also denied having any foreign bank accounts, and the existence of the BSI Hong Kong accounts has nailed that.
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