The Enforcement Directorate has launched a massive crackdown on properties linked with Dawood Ibrahim and his associates. As per sources in the Mumbai Police several politicians, through numerous firms and private companies, are found to have links with those properties.
As per sources, the ED has zeroed in the properties of a key Dawood associate named Iqbal Memon alias ‘Mirchi’. While tracking Mirchi’s business ventures and properties in India and the UK, the ED has discovered links with a firm that is linked to former UPA-era civil aviation minister Praful Patel and his wife Varsha Patel.
As per the list of Mirchi’s properties located in India and the UK, A 15-story building in Dr Annie Besant Road, Worli, named ‘Ceejay House’ was constructed as a JV between Mirchi and M/S Millenium Developers Pvt Ltd in 2006-07.
In 2007, the third and fourth floors of the building were given to Mirchi’s family by Millenium Developers.
Former Union Minister Praful Patel and his wife Varsha Patel own a significant number of shares in Millenium Developers Pvt Ltd. In the documents, the 12th floor of the CeeJay House is mentioned as the address of Praful and Varsha Patel.
It is notable here that NCP leader Praful Patel’s family owns the CeeJay Group, a large tobacco conglomerate in India.
The ED has named Mirchi as an international drug dealer, smuggler, extortionist and criminal involved in anti-national interest. In 2004, Mirchi was listed as one of the foreign drug kingpins by the US state department. He had an Interpol red corner notice against him. Mirchi had died in the UK on 14 August 2013.
Mirchi and his family members had amassed huge wealth in India and abroad. The family had fled to Dubai and had shifted their empire overseas. Haroun Yusuf, chairman of Mirchi’s trust has been named by ED as the facilitator of many of the shady property deals. The ED has listed 25 properties in the UK owned by Mirchi’s family and business partners.
ED had yesterday arrested Haroun Yusuf and one Ranjit Singh Bindra who had brokered a deal with Mirchi’s trust and Sunblink Realtors Pvt Ltd. Mirchi’s Mumbai assets alone are speculated to be worth more than Rs 500 crores. Based on the Mumbai Police’s FIR on Yusuf, Mirchi and others, the ED has filed a PMLA case on Yusuf and Bindra.
The NCP has stated that the land on which CeeJay House stands was purchased from the Maharaja of Gwalior by Patel’s family in 1963 and there was a property dispute with some illegal occupants who were then granted the third floor of the building by order of the High Court. NCP had stated that Ceejay House is not owned by Praful or Varsha Patel.