The Enforcement Directorate has filed a complaint recording industrialist Pardeep Koneru’s statement in which he has alleged that more than Rs 5 crore he paid to meat exporter Moin Qureshi was for then CBI director A P Singh. In its complaint, ED alleges that Qureshi was “extorting” money from Koneru and the Blackberry Messenger conversations between Qureshi and his employee Aditya Sharma are evidence to show that there was “exchange of money” received from Koneru.
ED cites extracts of Koneru’s statement in its complaint. According to these excerpts, Koneru said he met Qureshi at a social event in Chattarpur Farms in south Delhi in February 2012. And that Qureshi had “done his research” on his father’s CBI case and told him that for Rs 2-3 crore, “I can manage your case in CBI that will save your legal expenses.”
However, Koneru added that Qureshi started asking “more i.e around 3-4 crores” but later “softened” his stand. Koneru’s father is the founder of Trimex group and one of the accused in Emaar-Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation township project scam in Hyderabad. He was chargesheeted by the CBI in February 2012.
“(Qureshi) said to me whatever the money you will pay is not for me but for incurring lots of expenses of (then CBI chief) A P Singh, like shopping of various merchandise etc in India and abroad, hotel accommodations in India and abroad. Moreover, Moin’s daughter was organising CBI Annual Day functions and we have to incur lot of expenses. He further said that A P Singh used to stay quite often in the accommodation area of Mayfair, London and which caused huge expense to him,” said Koneru in his statement to ED, as per the complaint. According to the complaint, Koneru also told the ED that Qureshi “impressed him showing his photographs with A P Singh”.
According to the ED complaint, Koneru in his statement: “I paid (Qureshi) Rs 5.25 crore in 2012 and in the year 2013 I have paid him Rs 50 lakh because he was threatening me and saying that he will cause harm in my father’s case as Mr Ranjit Sinha the then director CBI was also known to Moin and…very close to him. The total amount I have paid was Rs 5.75 crore but he did not help me in my father’s case.” When contacted today, former CBI director AP Singh sent a message: “Sorry under the strict instructions of lawyers not to speak to the press or media.”
The case dates back to 2014 when the Income Tax Department conducted searches against Qureshi. Later, ED conducted searches under FEMA. In 2016, I-T booked him under Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015 as its probe led the department to a few foreign assets owned or held by the meat exporter and his family and allegedly not reported to Indian tax authorities.
On August 31, 2016, ED wrote a letter to CBI stating that investigation prima facie had found “omission and commission of certain acts by certain public servants holding high positions in public office in collusion with Qureshi” where huge amounts of illegal money had been transacted.
ED’s letter stated that various messages were intercepted by I-T department which indicate “that certain govt. servants were in close touch with Moin Akhtar Qureshi” about the movement of the file for obtaining concession agreement for running lounge services at International Airport. In these messages, were conversations between Qureshi and accused of various cases and also persons who wanted to “seek undue favours from the government”, said the ED directing the CBI to register a case.
The CBI then registered a case under the Prevention of Corruption Act and under criminal conspiracy on February 16, 2017 against former CBI director AP Singh, Koneru, Qureshi, Aditya Sharma and unknown public servants. Later, Qureshi was arrested by the ED in August 2017 and on October 23 the complaint against Qureshi was filed in the special court.