February 26, 2021 8:59:22 pm
A special court here Friday declared three family members of late gangster Iqbal Mirchi as ‘fugitive economic offenders’ under the provisions of a criminal law by the same name, official sources said.
Those charged include Mirchi’s wife Hajra Memon and sons Junaid Memon and Asif Memon.
The court of Additional Sessions Judge A A Nandgaonkar declared the three as fugitive economic offenders under section 12 of the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act of 2018, they said.
“The court also directed the Enforcement Directorate to seize their properties in India and abroad after following due process of law,” an official said.
The central probe agency had moved the court, also the special court for trying cases under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), last December to get declared the three as violators of this law, enacted by the Narendra Modi government in 2018 to cripple those who are charged with high-value economic frauds and abscond from the country to evade the law.
The court subsequently had issued notice to the three accused to appear before it on February 16 but as they did not comply with the directive, the court made the declaration on Friday.
The ED had then also sought (in the application made on December 3) confiscation of 15 Indian properties including the 3rd and 4th floor of Ceejay House (in Mumbai) having market value of about Rs 96 crore and six bank accounts having balance of Rs 1.9 crore.
The ED has filed a money laundering case against Mirchi, who died at the age of 63 in London in 2013, his family and others last year after studying multiple Mumbai Police FIRs lodged against them.
The agency had alleged Mirchi “indirectly owned various properties in and around Mumbai”.
It had filed the criminal case against Mirchi and those connected to him to probe money laundering charges linked to their alleged illegal dealings in the purchase and sale of costly real estate assets in Mumbai.
Mirchi was alleged to be the right-hand man of global terrorist Dawood Ibrahim in drug trafficking and extortion crimes. Properties worth about Rs 798 crore have been attached by the agency till now in this case.
Under the FEO Act, a person can be declared a fugitive economic offender if a warrant has been issued against him for an offence involving an amount of Rs 100 crore or more and he has left the country and refuses to return.
Businessmen Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi and four promoters/directors of Gujarat-based Sterling Biotech company, facing similar money laundering charges, have been declared fugitive economic offenders in the past on the basis of investigations done by the ED.
A UK court on Thursday ruled that Nirav Modi can be extradited to India to face charges of bank fraud and money laundering.
In the Mirchi case, an open ended non-bailable warrant was also issued by the same court against the three accused after a charge sheet was filed against them by the ED.
The three are stated to be based abroad and have till now evaded ED’s summons and the court-issued warrants.
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