The competent authority under Smugglers and Foreign Exchange Manipulators (Forfeiture of Property) Act (SAFEMA) of the Finance Ministry has forfeited three properties owned by the family of late gangster Iqbal Mirchi in Worli, south Mumbai.
The move is on the basis of the evidence collected by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which is investigating a case against Mirchi’s family under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The three properties are Rabia Mansion, Mariam Lodge & Sea View.
According to the order passed by the competent authority on November 9, “all the transfers/transactions in respect of these properties have been declared null and void”
The ED in a statement said the value of these properties is about Rs 500 crore. The agency said its probe found that Iqbal Mirchi, “in connivance with Sir Mohamed Yusuf Trust, misrepresented about the ownership of these buildings before the Competent Authority (SAFEMA/NDPS Act), Hon’ble Additional CMM and Hon’ble CMM” in 2005.
“The properties were falsely claimed by a trust before these authorities on the pretext that Iqbal Mirchi had not made complete payment and consequently it did not hand over possession of these properties to Iqbal Mirchi. On the basis of this plea, these properties were earlier released from attachment under NDPS Act in the year 2005,” said the ED.
The agency said the competent authority has now said that its 2005 order in case of Mirchi’s Worli properties was “obtained through fraud, willful suppression of documentary evidence and facts and is therefore non-est order in eyes of law”. The authority also said that Sir Mohamed Yusuf Trust “concealed vital evidence and facts regarding the ownership of these properties”.
The ED probe found that after the properties were released from attachment, Mirchi sold them to Sunblink Real Estate Pvt Ltd, a company linked to Kapil and Dheeraj Wadhawan, the promoters of Dewan Housing Finance Corporation (DHFL), for Rs 225 crore in 2010. The payments to Mirchi, ED has alleged, were routed through shell companies and hawala.
Both Kapil and Dheeraj Wadhawan are currently under arrest. The probe agency has also secured open ended non bailable warrants against Mirchi’s sons Asif Memon, Junaid Memon and wife Hajra Memon. So far, the ED has arrested five people in this case and has attached assets worth Rs 798 crore, including the three Worli buildings.
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