BJP targets Congress over allegations against former UPA minister Praful Patel

NCP leader Patel was a member of the Union Cabinet and served as civil aviation minister from 2004 to 2009 in the first term of the UPA government led by the Congress.

Published: 14th October 2019 10:53 PM  |   Last Updated: 15th October 2019 12:14 AM   |  A+A-

Sonia Gandhi,

Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi (File | PTI)

By PTI

MUMBAI: Does the Congress wants to continue alliance with the NCP after links of their leader with fugitive underworld don Dawood Ibrahim have been exposed, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra asked here on Monday while

Referring to documents of a property deal having signatures of NCP leader Praful Patel and Dawood aide Iqbal Mirchi’s wife Hazra Memon surfaced in recent investigations by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

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"There had been reports in the section of media. While Patel and his wife denied having any links with Mirchi yesterday, a document – of a property deal has surfaced today. It bares signatures of both Mr Patel and Mrs Hazra Memon, wife of Iqbal Mirchi, a close aide of fugitive underworld don Dawood Ibrahim,” Patra said and added whether the Congress will snap ties with the NCP after the revelation.

"According to the documents, the negotiations went on for around three years between 2004 and 2007. The same Patel was then appointed the civil aviation minister," Patra said and asked whether the earlier Congress government was itself jeopardizing the safety and security of the nation.

Patra also raised questions over the process for appointment of minister during the UPA rule and said that the-then PM Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi need to clarify on the issue. "The Congress should come out clear whether the government was aware about the links between its ministers and the fugitive underworld don, and if yes, why was the truth hidden from the people?" Patra asked.

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Patra said that this is a clear case of how people in the government had business relations with underworld don, and added that such people won't be spared by the citizens of Mumbai and Maharashtra.

The ED last week arrested real-estate broker Ranjeet Singh Bindra and former chairman of Sir Mohammed Yusuf Trust Haroun Yusuf in a money laundering case against Iqbal Mirchi. Patel’s name surfaced during interrogation of these two accused, sources have said adding that Patel is likely to be grilled by the ED in the case.

Iqbal Mirchi, or Muhammed Iqbal Memon, was the right-hand man of India’s most wanted criminal, Dawood Ibrahim. While he died in London in 2013, much before that, in 1999, all investigations against him were called off for lack of evidence, sources have said.

During its probe into the money laundering-terror financing case, the ED focused on 15-storeyed Ceejay House. As per the deal, Mirchi transferred the plot owned by his wife Hazra Memon in Mumbai’s Worli to Millennium Developers Pvt Ltd, the company in which Praful Patel and his wife Varsha own a considerable number of shares.

Millennium Developers then built a commercial-cum-residential building, Ceejay House, on the plot. The list of Mirchi’s properties in India and the UK reportedly suggests that Ceejay House was built as a joint venture between Mirchi and Millennium Developers Pvt Ltd in 2006-07.

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