Controversial meat exporter Moin Qureshi pulled off an exit from India despite a look-out notice against him because he created confusion using an unrelated court order to fool immigration officials who let him go, fearing legal trouble if he missed his flight.
When Qureshi – wanted by the enforcement directorate for alleged money laundering and hawala deals -- was stopped en-route to Dubai at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport on Saturday, he told immigration officials that he had a court order in his favour, sources said.
Airport officials were worried that he will miss his flight and they would get a rap from the court and hence let him board the Dubai-bound plane, sources said. Immigration authorities have now told the home ministry that letting Qureshi go was a “bonafide mistake”.
“The immigration officials should have checked with the ED officials about the court order rather than taking a call on their own,” a home ministry official said.
The Immigration department had initiated an inquiry. The ED is now keeping its fingers crossed as it anxiously waits for Qureshi to return to India on October 22.
The ED had issued a look-out circular (LOC) against Qureshi asking the immigration authorities to stop him and inform whenever Qureshi tries to leave the country.
Sources said the immigration authorities informed the home ministry that as soon as Qureshi arrived at the airport, he was stopped and the ED was informed. But, Qureshi told them he had a court order on the basis of which he can leave the country.
“He got the order faxed at the airport as well for the perusal of the immigration authorities. But that court order pertained to a separate case lodged by the income tax department against Qureshi,” said a home ministry official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
After reviewing the court order, the immigration officials at the airport allowed him to leave the country because his flight was about to depart. Sources said in the case initiated by the IT authorities, Qureshi was mandated to inform the court before leaving the country, which he did.
The ED is probing a money laundering case against Qureshi. The home ministry will review the report and decide on further course of action in this regard.
The ED had registered a case against Qureshi under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) last year. He is under the scanner of probe agencies for alleged tax evasion and hawala-like dealings.