Probing a case of alleged money laundering, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) plans to attach at least 35 properties belonging to the family of Iqbal Mohammed Memon aka Iqbal Mirchi, a close aide of gangster Dawood Ibrahim, in India and abroad including two floors of Mumbai’s Ceejay House, developed by a firm run by NCP leader and former Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel.
According to the ED, Patel’s Millennium Developers Pvt Ltd constructed Ceejay House in 2006-07 and its third and fourth floors were transferred to Mirchi’s wife Hajra Iqbal in 2007 “towards beneficial interest of Mirchi in the land” on which it was built. The sale of land to Millennium Developers, the ED claimed, was “through dubious means” and the sale proceeds were “laundered” by Mirchi.
The ED is likely to summon Patel and his wife Varsha Patel, co-owners of Millennium Developers, for questioning in the case.
In a statement, the NCP denied any link between Patel and Iqbal Mirchi. “Praful Patel’s family bought the property on which Ceejay House has been constructed from the Maharaja of Gwalior in year 1963. This property was with Court Receiver from 1978 to 2005 due to dispute among co-owners. During this period, there was an illegal occupant in the premises behind the then building. They were relocated by an order of the High Court on the third floor when the building was re-developed by the Patel family. Ceejay House is not owned by any individual being mentioned in the news report. All documents and Court orders are available on record,” it said.
According to the ED, Mirchi’s family own at least 26 properties in the UK , UAE and nine properties in India. The agency has identified about 16 properties in London owned by Mirchi’s wife Hajra. These properties, sources said, are held through two companies — Country Properties Ltd, Jersey and Uscombe Limited, BVI. At least six other properties of Mirchi in the UK are held through four firms — Riqz (UK) Ltd, Topline Estate Ltd, Quay Management (Waterside) Ltd and Imperial Hotel (Dartford) Ltd.
Apart from this, a UAE-based firm of Mirchi, Mihaj Investments Corporation Ltd, holds three other properties in London. The agency also alleged that Mirchi purchased Mid West Hotel in the UAE using the money sent to him from India through hawala in 2010. The current value of this property is estimated at Rs 180 crore.
In India, Mirchi’s family continues to own six acres of land with a bungalow in Khandala, a bungalow at Panchgani, two floors totalling 14,000 sq ft at Ceejay House in Worli in Mumbai, another bungalow at Worli, three shops at Crawford market in South Mumbai, a cinema theatre at Byculla, Meenaz Hotel at Juhu and a flat at Samandar Mahal in Worli.
Apart from this, the agency is also looking into the sale of three properties in Worli — Rabia Mansion, Marium Lodge and Sea View — in 2010 to a Mumbai-based real estate firm, Sunblink Real Estate Pvt Ltd, for Rs 225 crore. Out of this, at least Rs 127 crore was paid to Mirchi, the ED alleged.