The Supreme Court on Monday took note of the status reports of various agencies including CBI, probing allegations of money laundering and criminal activities of an Uttar Pradesh MLC and sought the personal appearance of a senior Enforcement Directorate officer before it.
A bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud said almost all communications or probe reports of ED have been either written or initiated by Joint Director Dr Rajeshwar Singh and it wanted to “understand” and “appreciate” the facts from him.
“We further ask the Joint Director (of ED) to appear before us in person on the next date of hearing,” it said. The apex court, on August 8 last year, had perused the probe reports of Special Fraud Investigation Organisation (SFIO), ED and Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) on a complaint against BSP Member of Legislative Council (MLC) Mohammad Iqbal.
It had then asked CBI to “look into the complaints filed by petitioner (Ranvir Singh) in the light of the reports submitted by the ED and the CBDT. In that view, we expect the CBI to examine the matter at an appropriate level for such action as may be considered necessary in accordance with law.”
It had sought a status report from CBI which was today submitted in a sealed cover.
The apex court had also said that investigation by other central agencies prima facie suggested that shell companies associated with Iqbal were purportedly indulging in money laundering. “The new reports by SFIO, ED, CBDT suggest that several companies which are prima facie shell companies or fake companies are indulging in money laundering and needs investigation and CBI needs to examine the serious issues and take into consideration these developments,” it had said.
The court was hearing a PIL filed by another UP leader Ranvir Singh, who has accused Iqbal of indulging in money laundering. His counsel Harin Raval had alleged that CBI has not taken any action on the complaint.
The BSP MLC had said that there was bias in the probe and the person coming to the Supreme Court himself has three criminal cases against him.
Iqbal had said he had nothing to do with the family businesses while referring to the report of the Saharanpur district magistrate and adding that he has been dragged to this court.
However, the bench had referred to the probe which revealed that a large number of companies were set up on one address.
It had said Iqbal has set up partnership firms and the funds were being transferred from partnership firm to the tune of Rs 1,374 crore and the report suggests that he is the kingpin.
The Centre had earlier said the probe conducted so far has indicated that there was some nexus with the alleged activities of former Uttar Pradesh Minister Babu Singh Khushwaha, an accused in NRHM (National Rural Health Mission) scam, and the companies attached to the MLC. The petition, filed by Singh, has accused the MLC of indulging in money laundering and other criminal activities.