Mirchi Hawala Ring: ED Sends First Letters Rogatory to UK

ED has sent a LR to UK as part of its global probe into suspected terror funding and hawala operations of late Mirchi, Dawood.

Published: 02nd August 2015 04:15 PM  |   Last Updated: 02nd August 2015 04:15 PM   |  A+A-

Dawood-Ibrahim-PTI-L

Dawood Ibrahim. PTI File Photo

By PTI

NEW DELHI: The ED has sent a Letters Rogatory (LR) to the United Kingdom as part of its global probe into suspected terror funding and hawala operations of late Iqbal Mirchi, a longtime associate of fugitive Pakistan-based don Dawood Ibrahim.

The overseas judicial request dispatched recently by the Enforcement Directorate through diplomatic channels has sought to obtain information on the finances, bank accounts and assets of Mirchi and his associates which are suspected to be created by him illegally in the foreign country through dubious ways like hawala.

Sources privy to the development said the LR has been issued after vetting from the Union Finance and Home ministries and has been prepared after some preliminary information conducted by the central probe agency in coordination with their counterparts in London.

Apart from UK, the agency is already in touch with few more countries like UAE, Spain, Cyprus, Turkey and Morocco as part of the overseas judicial requests.

The agency, which has recently launched a multi-level probe into the Rs 3,000 crore slush funds ring, has already issued notices to two sons and the widow of Mirchi, his relatives, lawyers and business associates in connection with its investigation conducted under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).

As part of the latest LR, the sources said, ED has sought all "available documents and material" which are related to Mirchi and other suspects it has identified in this probe.

Mirchi, who died in 2013 in the UK, is suspected to have laundered and moved funds through the hawala route to purchase a host of properties in at least 10 or more countries with the help of his associates.

The agency had earlier also written to the Mumbai police Crime Branch, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the Maharashtra land records authorities seeking their cooperation in this 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, in the making for over a year now, claims to suggest 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 monies from these deals 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 had said.

The agency is probing the entire gamut of complex real estate transactions as it found that at least four buildings, measuring about 6,132 sq mt 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 four buildings on Worli Sea Face were sealed under the Smugglers and Foreign Exchange Manipulators (Forfeiture of Property) Act (SAFEMA) and CrPC in the aftermath of the 1993 Mumbai bombings as they were suspected to be 'benami' assets of Mirchi.

The assets were later released by a court order following which they were sold.Mirchi was not only the main henchman in executing underworld contracts for Dawood but was also allegedly one of the world's top ranking narcotics smuggler.

India had issued an Interpol Red Corner notice against him in 1994.

The dossiers received by ED from multiple sources claim to reveal that some of these assets, including commercial ones, are located in Dubai, Britain and Turkey.

Investigators suspect a good tranche of money from the sale of these assets have reached the pockets of Dawood even as probe suggests that a number of these assets purchased by Mirchi and his family are being operated by gangsters deputed by the underworld don who too left India soon after the 1993 blasts and his been elusive since.

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