Three properties of late gangster Iqbal Mirchi in Mumbai, worth about Rs 500 crore, have been “forfeited” under the provisions of two central laws against smugglers, foreign exchange manipulators and narcotic operatives, the Enforcement Directorate said on Wednesday.
It said the immovable assets named –Rabia Mansion, Mariam Lodge and Sea View– are located in the Worli area of Maharashtra’s capital city.
Mirchi was allegedly the right-hand man of global terrorist Dawood Ibrahim in drug trafficking and extortion rackets.
The order for seizure of properties was issued by the competent authority for SAFEMA (Smugglers and Foreign Exchange Manipulators Act) and NDPS (Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances) on November 9 based on “evidence gathered” against Mirchi and his associates by the ED.
The competent authority adjudicates cases filed under the SAFEMA and the NDPS.
“As per the order, all the transfers and transactions in respect of these properties have been declared null and void.
“The value of these properties is about Rs 500 crore as ascertained by the ED during the course of the investigation under the PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act),” the central probe agency said in a statement.
The ED had filed a money laundering case against Mirchi, who died in London in 2013, his family and others last year after studying multiple Mumbai Police FIRs lodged against them.
These properties have also been attached by the ED under the anti-money laundering law.
The agency had alleged Mirchi “indirectly owned various properties in and around Mumbai”.
It had filed a criminal case against Mirchi and those linked to him to probe money laundering charges linked to their alleged illegal dealings in the purchase and sale of costly real estate assets in Mumbai.
The ED said these assets were released from seizure in 2005 after Mirchi in “connivance” with Sir Mohammed Yusuf Trust “misrepresented” the facts before a court.
“Mirchi and the Trust misrepresented about the ownership of these buildings before the Competent Authority (SAFEMA/NDPS Act), the court of Additional CMM (chief metropolitan magistrate) and the CMM.”
“The properties were falsely claimed by a trust before these authorities on the pretext that Iqbal Mirchi had not made complete payment and consequently it did not hand over possession of these properties to Iqbal Mirchi,” the ED said.
On the basis of this plea, it said, these properties were released from attachment.
The ED, on November 6 last year, informed the correct factual position to the competent authority and shared “definite and undeniable evidence” of ownership of these properties by Iqbal Mirchi, it said.
The agency gathered the evidence during raids conducted in this case last year.
“The evidence includes complete payment receipts issued by the trust along with the corresponding entry in the bank passbook, a letter issued by trust regarding handing over the possession to Iqbal Mirchi, submissions to Income-tax department admitting sale of these properties among others,” it said.
The ED said the competent authority, after going through the latest submissions in the case brought forth by it, observed that the 2005 order was obtained “through fraud, wilful suppression of documentary evidence and facts” and is, therefore, non-est order in the eyes of law.
“The competent authority further observed that the trust concealed vital evidence and facts regarding the ownership of these properties and had misled the court of Additional CMM and the CMM also.”
“Hence, the order (releasing the attachment) dated August 31, 2004 of the Additional CMM and order dated March 4, 2005 of the CMM were obtained by fraud,” it said.
The agency, as part of its PMLA probe, has attached assets worth about Rs 798 crore in this case till now and has also filed a charge sheet in a special PMLA court in Mumbai in December last year.
The court had subsequently issued open-ended non-bailable warrants against Mirchi’s sons Asif Memon and Junaid Memon and wife Hajra Memon. They are stated to be based abroad.