July 27, 2021 10:32:06 am
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has issued notices to about two dozen people in connection with an investigation into a money laundering case against senior Samajwadi Party (SP) leader and Rampur MP Azam Khan.
Most of those served with notices are from Rampur and had reportedly donated to the Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar Trust that runs Mohammad Ali Jauhar University. Khan is the university’s founder and chancellor.
The SP leader has been undergoing treatment in Lucknow’s Medanta Hospital since last week, when he was shifted out of Sitapur district jail after complaining of breathlessness. After visiting his senior colleague in the hospital last week, SP president Akhilesh Yadav said what was happening to Khan was unfair, and hoped for justice from the judiciary.
The ED had sent letters to the Rampur district administration and the police seeking information about Azam Khan, Jauhar Trust, and the university. Sources said the agency suspects several people who donated to the trust in exchange received contracts from agencies involved in construction works and the supply of goods and materials. The Rampur district administration recently sent the details to the agency.
“As per the letter sent by the ED, we prepared a report on the basis of records available with the district administration and sent them the details. We also collected several records from the revenue department,” said a district official.
The police have sent the details of all 81 criminal cases registered against the SP leader since the BJP government came to power in 2017. Among the charges against Khan are cheating, criminal trespass, and land-grabbing. The police have filed chargesheets in 79 of the cases, and submitted a closure report in one after completing the investigation. In one case, Khan was found to have been wrongly named in the FIR. In most of the cases, the MP’s wife and local MLA Tanzeen Fatima and their son Abdullah Azam Khan are co-accused.
A senior ED official said, “We wanted to verify how people who donated to the trust are connected to Azam Khan. And had they given donations to any other organisation and people. Agency also wanted to verify if there was any hidden agenda behind the donations.”
Saying that so far the agency knew about Rs 30-40 crore donated to the trust, he added, “In the notices, we have asked people to join the investigation. During the probe into the case lodged under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, we will also verify the source of income of people who gave donations to the trust.”
The agency discovered during its probe that some people had donated money from abroad. “We have found that a few of those people have their offices in India. Notices are sent to their offices asking to join the investigation,” said the officer.
Last February, Azam, Tanzeen and Abdullah surrendered to a local court in Rampur in connection with a case related to the alleged forgery of Abdullah’s birth certificate. That December, Tanzeem Fatima obtained bail and was released from prison. Azam and Abdullah are still in judicial custody.
In May, the two were shifted to a hospital after they contracted Covid-19. They were admitted to Medanta Hospital and sent back to Sitapur jail two weeks ago.
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