ED arrests two in Iqbal Mirchi money laundering case
Merchant was produced before a special PMLA court and sent to ED custody till October 24.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday arrested Humayu Merchant – close aide of gangster Iqbal Mirchi and Dawood Ibrahim – and Rinku Deshpandey in the alleged money laundering case related to properties of gangster Iqbal Mirchi. While Merchant was produced before a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court and sent to ED custody till October 24, Deshpandey will be produced in court on Wednesday.
According to ED sources, Merchant is one of the masterminds who received Rs 50 crore for planning and executing the hawala transactions, including preparation of fake documents. He invested his ill-gotten money to buy rented properties, lodges and restaurants in south Mumbai in his wife's and sons' names. Some of them include Guest Lodge; Comfort Inn Heritage Hotel compound, Byculla; Guest Lodge, Lamington Road-Lane of Old Imperial Cinema; Zaytoon Restaurant, Claire Road, Byculla;
Mumbai Poultry farm at Karjat; a bungalow at Lonavala and shops at Heera Panna shopping centre, Haji Ali.
ED sources also told MiD Day that Merchant was involved with various other projects related to Mirchi and his sons Junaid and Asif. It also included the 'Ben Newis' in Pune, where work was on-going since 2010 in consultation with Vishwakarma Consultants Architects & Planners in the name of White Water Developers, Mumbai.
During investigation, on September 30, ED conducted searches at Deshpande's residence and also recorded her statement under section 502) & (3) of PMLA, 2002. In her statement, Deshpande said she accepted the receipt of funds for Rs 25-30 crore from Sunbink Real Estate Pvt Limited on behalf of Ranjeet Singh Bindra, an accused and broker in the deal between Iqbal and Sunbink Real Estate Pvt Limited. She said later on, the same was transferred to Ranjeet Singh Bindra through market operators on his instructions. She deposed that Bindra told her he had brokered a land deal with Dheeraj Deewan of Sunblink Real Estate Pvt Ltd against which he was to receive brokerage of Rs 40 to 50 crore in two tranches. She added the said amount of Rs 25-30 crore was part of the brokerage received by Bindra through her from Sun Blink. Earlier, ED also questioned former civil aviation minister Praful Patel for more than 12 hours, in connection with the case. On October 12, the agency arrested Mirchi's close associates Haroun Yousuf and Ranjeet Singh Bindra.
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