The Enforcement Directorate has initiated probe against Auqaf-e-Shahi (royal trust of the rulers of the erstwhile princely state of Bhopal) for alleged violation of the Foreign Exchange Management Act.
The trust is controlled by Saba Ali Khan, daughter of late Nawab Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi and sister of film actor Saif Ali Khan. Other members of the trust include former MP and Congress leader Gufran-e-Azam, businessman Sikander Hafiz and Mohd Alam Hashmi.
Saba Ali Khan took over charge as head of the Auqaf-e-Shahi after the death of her father in 2011.
The ED officials in Indore refrained from commenting on the probe. Madhya Pradesh Waqf Board chairman Shaukat Mohd Khan, however, said the royal trust which has several properties at prime locations in the walled city did not have proper accounts of the rent collected from those properties. Khan was asked by the ED to furnish information relevant to the inquiry.
HT has the copy of the ED letter sent to the Waqf Board seeking information against the royal trust and its members.
The trust sold 240 plots in Bagh Nuzhat Afza for just Rs 15,000 per plot on paper but an amount of Rs five lakh was taken from buyers against each plot, Shaukat Mohd Khan claimed. "We had received several complaints to this effect and we forwarded it to the ED," he said, suggesting the ‘missing money’ could be the prime reason for the probe.
Khan added that Saba Ali Khan had given the power of attorney to Mohd Alam Hashmi for the sale of the properties. This, however, was against the law, as the custodian of Auqaf-e-Shahi cannot transfer powers, Shaukat Mohd Khan claimed.
The entire property of the erstwhile nawabs and begums of the princely state, which comes under Auqaf-e-Shahi, is estimated to be worth thousands of crores of rupees.