The Income Tax department has initiated proceedings to prosecute meat exporter Moin Qureshi and attach his properties in India which include shares of asset-owning companies, a farmhouse in Chhattarpur, Delhi and land in Noida and Rampur, Uttar Pradesh.
Qureshi is at the centre of a controversy over his alleged links to senior CBI officers. Lawyer and activist Prashant Bhushan has alleged that Qureshi, who visited CBI Director Ranjit Sinha more than 70 times according to a logbook maintained at the latter’s New Delhi residence, was a conduit for people being investigated by the CBI. Sinha has challenged Bhushan’s allegations and the authenticity of the logbook.
In an appraisal report submitted to the Supreme Court, the Delhi unit of the I-T investigation wing has stated that Qureshi has undeclared income of Rs 157 crore, of which Rs 5.87 crore is “income generated by Moin Qureshi with his high level government contacts”.
Sources said the I-T department found that Qureshi owns only a few properties in his name and the rest is controlled via shares in limited companies. The department has identified properties in Noida and Rampur. The I-T plans to attach shares held by Qureshi in all companies he has promoted. He is shareholder and director of 27 companies, including his flagship firm AMQ Agro, a meat export company, the sources said.
The Impress Estates Pvt Ltd, one of the companies he promoted, owns a farmhouse in Chhattarpur spread over five acres purchased in 2002. This property was designed by French interior designer Jean-Louis Deniot and featured on the cover of design magazine Elle Decor. Shares of this company are among the properties identified for attachment by the I-T department.
It was the valuation of the Chhattarpur farmhouse that caught the eye of the I-T. While the tax department pegged its valuation at Rs 100 crore, the property’s value was shown to be Rs 10 crore, the sources said. The tax return submission claimed Deniot designed it pro bono. The I-T informed French authorities about Deniot’s dealings with Qureshi.
Also part of the I-T’s attachment proceedings are 21 lockers — these were said to have been opened in the name of Qureshi’s employees — which had cash and jewellery worth Rs 12 crore. The department is awaiting information from other countries where it believes Qureshi invested in properties.