ED questions builder Yusuf Lakdawala in Khandala land grab case

Published on May 28, 2021 12:05 AM IST

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday questioned builder Yusuf Lakdawala in connection with alleged money laundering linked to usurping a Khandala-based land belonging to erstwhile Hyderabad Nawab Himayat Nawaz Jung Bahadur

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HT Image
ByVijay Kumar Yadav, Mumbai

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday questioned builder Yusuf Lakdawala in connection with alleged money laundering linked to usurping a Khandala-based land belonging to erstwhile Hyderabad Nawab Himayat Nawaz Jung Bahadur. The land is said to be worth 50 crore, and it is suspected that Lakdawala spent around 11.5 crore to bribe government officials and estate agents and other accused to grab the land. ED is probing some of the suspicious transactions of the builder linked to the Khandala land, sources said.

Officers from ED (zone 2) on Thursday questioned Lakdawala, 76, and recorded his statement. The builder had previously avoided visiting ED office, despite multiple summons served to him.

The money laundering case filed by ED is based on the April 2019 first information report (FIR) registered by Mumbai Police’s economic offences wing (EOW) against the builder regarding usurping of the Khandala land, marked in official records as survey number 104 (CTS no. 11, 11A, 11B), and measures 4 acres and 38 gunthas.

Jitendra Badgujar, sub-registrar of Maval taluka, had then lodged a complaint, following which the case was filed for cheating, forgery, conspiracy under sections 465, 466, 467, 468, 471, 420, 120-B and 201 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Section 82 of the Indian Registration Act against Lakdawala and others.

Following the complaint, a lookout circular was issued against Lakdawala and he was subsequently arrested in the case on April 12, 2019 from Ahmedabad airport while trying to escape the country.

ED officers said Lakdawala got bail in February this year and was summoned for questioning over alleged money laundering linked to the land grabbing case.

As per EOW’s case, Lakdawala allegedly forged agreement papers, dating back to 1949, signed between his late father, Mohammad Ahmed Lakdawala, and the late Nawab. Lakdawala allegedly obtained an affidavit and a deed of confirmation on the basis of fake documents. The builder used the registration number of the original document, recorded with the Mumbai registrar’s office. The builder had also allegedly tried to destroy the original records of the land at the Lonavala revenue office, an ED officer said.

EOW had then found that many dockets pertaining to the land are missing including original copies of some land dealings linked to the disputed land.

The 21 legal heirs of the late Nawab had given power of attorney of the disputed land to one Mohan R Nair in 2014. The police later discovered that the documents pertaining to the power of attorney were forged to usurp the land. EOW investigators believed that Nair was paid 4 crore by Lakdawala for helping him usurp the land.

Besides Lakdawala, EOW had then arrested a real estate agent and an officer from the land record department of Lonavala.

Previosly, Lakdawala was in news in 2010 after a Bollywood actor, late Sadhana, had filed a case against him and his wife, alleging that the duo had threatened to kill her as she refused to vacate a bungalow in Khar, where she was living. Sadhana had died after deposing before the magistrate’s court, which had later acquitted Lakdawala in the case.

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