The competent authority under the Smugglers and Foreign Exchange Manipulators (Forfeiture of Property) Act (SAFEMA) of the Union finance ministry has forfeited three properties owned by the family of late gangster Iqbal Mirchi at Worli in south Mumbai.
The forfeiture of the properties is based on 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 and Sea View. According to the order passed by the 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. It added that its probe has found that 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 2005,” the ED said.
The agency added that the competent authority has now the 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 into Mirchi’s Indian assets has found that after the properties were released from attachment, the gangster sold them to Sunblink Real Estate Private Limited, a company linked Kapil Wadhawan and Dheeraj Wadhawan, promoters of Dewan Housing Finance Corporation (DHFL), for Rs 225 crore in 2010. The payments to Mirchi, the ED has alleged, were routed through shell companies and hawala.
Both Kapil and Dheeraj are currently under arrest. The probe agency has also secured open ended non-bailable warrants against Mirchi’s sons Asif Memon and Junaid Memon as well as wife Hajra Memon. So far, the ED has arrested five people in this case and attached assets worth Rs 798 crore, including the three Worli buildings.
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