Updated: September 23, 2017 8:05:20 am
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is preparing to send fresh letters rogatory (LRs) to two foreign countries in connection with its money laundering probe against meat exporter Moin Qureshi. It has already sent two LRs to Dubai and Hong Kong to get details of financial transactions associated with him.
Agency sources said that investigators have traced fresh dubious financial transactions related to Qureshi in Dubai and a European country. “The necessary formalities are being done. We will soon ask the competent court to issue LRs. We need further details and evidence on these transactions. We have already sent two LRs to Dubai and Hong Kong in related matters,” an ED official said. The agency had arrested Qureshi on August 26 on charges of money laundering on behalf of public servants.
The LRs sent by the agency to Dubai and Hong Kong pertain to money spent by Qureshi’s wife and daughter on shopping at these destinations. According to ED, the money for this shopping spree running into several lakh rupees was arranged by Qureshi through hawala channels.
In 2015, the agency had registered a case against Qureshi under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) with regard to the purchases. It later registered a case of money-laundering when the CBI filed an FIR against Qureshi. Evidence related to the shopping expenses and hawala exchanges were recovered by the agency during searches at Qureshi’s residence.
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The ED has also identified at least seven properties across the UK and France associated with the meat exporter. The central agency suspects these properties were investments Qureshi made to park money on behalf of the public servants for whom he is alleged to have moved money.
The ED, which has alleged that Qureshi would receive bribes on behalf of government officials from businessmen facing probe by central agencies, had earlier said, “The analysis of BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) messages retrieved from mobile phones of Moin Qureshi and his associates revealed that hawala operators used to transfer bribe money (belonging to government officials) to different foreign locations like Paris and UK. Moin Qureshi has extorted crores of rupees from a businessman from Hyderabad, in lieu of the help provided.”
Sources in the ED, however, insisted that the agency had more than just BBM messages as evidence against Qureshi and the government officials. “There are property trails that we have substantiated to an extent. We are verifying a few things after which we will begin attaching properties,” said an ED official.
The ED has also identified some foreign accounts held by Qureshi. According to the agency, Qureshi transferred money using hawala operators to Dubai, from where it was routed to Paris, London, US, Hong Kong, Italy and Switzerland. The agency is investigating these foreign accounts to trace “proceeds of crime”.
The agency is planning to confront Qureshi with government officials suspected of having had close links with him. This could include former CBI Director A P Singh, who has been named in a CBI FIR in connection with the case and had allegedly exchanged BBM messages with Qureshi talking about cases and asking small favours.
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