The Enforcement Directorate has alleged financial links between the family of Dawood Ibrahim aide Iqbal Mirchi and senior NCP leader and former Union Aviation minister Praful Patel, which the BJP has sought to make an issue as Maharashtra goes to Assembly polls.
What is the alleged link between Iqbal Mohammed Memon, popularly known as Iqbal Mirchi, and Praful Patel?
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has alleged that Praful Patel’s Millennium Developers Pvt Ltd developed Ceejay House, in Worli, Mumbai, in 2006-07 and its third and fourth floors — about 14000 sq ft — were transferred to Iqbal Mirchi’s wife Hazra Iqbal in 2007 “towards beneficial interest of Mirchi in the land” on which Ceejay House was built.
The ED has alleged that the sale of the land (on which Ceejay House was built) to Millennium Developers was done “through dubious means”, and that the sale proceeds were “laundered” by Mirchi. Praful Patel and his wife Varsha Patel are shareholders of Millennium Developers.
So how did Hazra Iqbal come to own the Worli land on which Ceejay House was built?
In the early 1970s, a person named M K Mohammed was in adverse possession of 1,799.36 sq yards of the land on which Ceejay House — earlier known as Shriniketan — is built. Mohammed had constructed a restaurant called Gurukripa on the land, records show.
In 1980, the co-owners of the land filed a lawsuit against Mohammed in the Bombay High Court. That same year, the High Court appointed D B Khade as the court receiver to institute a suit against Mohammed seeking a declaration to the title of the land, and for the vacant possession of the land. The High court forbade Mohammed from carrying out any work on the disputed land until the disposal of the case.
In 1988, Mohammed and the court receiver reached a settlement under which Mohammed was ordered to pay Rs 7 lakh to the co-owners as full and final payment for the property. In return, Mohammed was to be declared the sole owner of the disputed portion of the property.
Interestingly, however, even as the court case was on, Mohammed in 1986 sold the rights to the land to Hazra Iqbal, wife of Iqbal Mirchi, for Rs 9 lakh.
What happened after the court settled the case in 1988?
In 1999, almost 10 years after the court passed a decree, one of the co-owners of the land, Lalben M Patel, filed a case against Hazra Iqbal, challenging the validity of 1988 order of the High Court. Subsequently, a settlement was reached between the co-owners (Lalben Patel) and Hazra Iqbal.
Iqbal paid Rs 7 lakh to the court receiver and gave an undertaking to remove all fixtures from the disputed portion of the property. As per the consent terms arrived at in the court, the co-owners undertook to create a monthly tenancy in favour of Hazra Iqbal in respect of 14,000 sq ft carpet area in Shriniketan Building, at a monthly rent of Rs 10,000.
The co-owners also agreed before the court that in case the premises on the land were ever converted to ownership after forming a co-operative society, Hazra Iqbal’s tenancy would be converted into ownership as was applicable in the case of other existing tenants of the building.
Subsequently, the co-owners of the property (Shriniketan Building) entered into a development agreement with Praful Patel’s Millennium Developers.
Millennium Developers accepted the liability of the co-owners to give 14,000 sq ft of carpet area including car parking spaces in Ceejay House to Hazra Iqbal.
In February 2007, Millennium Developers executed a registered deed of confirmation with Hazra Iqbal and her sons. For the purpose of payment of stamp duty and registration charges, the valuation of the 14,000 sq ft which was transferred to Hazra Iqbal, was shown as Rs 1.13 crore.
So, who are the owners of the 14,000 sq ft area that covers the third and fourth floors of Ceejay House?
Hazra Iqbal owns 60 per cent rights to the 14,000 sq ft carpet area in the Ceejay House building. She has given 20 per cent each to her sons Asif Iqbal Memon and Junaid Iqbal Memon. All of them reside outside India. Iqbal Mirchi died in London some years ago.