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ED probes global hawala ring of Iqbal Mirchi

Iqbal-MirchiRequests criminal probe that involves about 50 tainted assets in over 10 countries, a clutch of about 40 firms in country
A full-blown investigation into suspected terror funding andhawala operations of the infamous ‘D’ company has been launched with the Enforcement Directorate (ED) bringing under its scanner a Rs 3,000 crore global money laundering ring allegedly involving family members and associates of late Iqbal Mirchi- who was a right-hand man of fugitive Pakistan-based don Dawood Ibrahim.

The central probe agency has issued over a dozen notices to two sons and the widow of Mirchi, his relatives, their constituted attorneys and business associates even as it has written to the Mumbai police Crime Branch, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the Maharashtra land records authorities seeking their cooperation in a criminal probe that involves about 50 tainted assets in over 10 countries, a clutch of about 40 firms in the country and abroad and a maze of at least 20 bank accounts in India and some private banks overseas.

The highly sensitive probe has been in the making for over a year now as part of which the ED has obtained voluminous documents and data to find that Mirchi’s family and associates sold at least five prime properties in Mumbai and allegedly moved crores of funds obtained from their sale to purchase some costly assets abroad.

A huge amount of these monies from this deal is also suspected to have found its way into the terrorist and arms-running mafia run by Dawood which is part of the larger probe, sources said.

The agency which has registered a case under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) recently to probe the entire gamut of complex real estate transactions found that at least four buildings, measuring about 6,132 sq mtrs in total, and located in Mumbai’s Worli Sea Face were sold off by Mirchi’s family in 2010 by creating “fictitious identities” and front companies in “contravention of RBI guidelines and FEMA rules.”

“The suspects, some of whom have been accused in the 1993 Mumbai blasts and others who have been active associates of Iqbal Mirchi in his underworld acts, have perpetrated hawala and money laundering to the tune of Rs 1,000 crore since 2010.

“The agency suspects the entire black money deal, which is against the interest of the state and public, could go beyond Rs 3,000 crore after taking into consideration the current market appreciation of the tainted assets under scanner,” sources privy to the probe said.

The ED has handed over the investigation of the case to a special investigation team as it has identified numerous assets used to run the hawala racket.

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