DHFL promoter Kapil Wadhawan arrested in Iqbal Mirchi money laundering case
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Monday arrested Dewan Housing Finance Corporation (DHFL) promoter Kapil Wadhawan in connection with the money laundering probe against late gangster Iqbal Mirchi under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), official said.
DHFL came under the ED’s scanner when the agency was examining three properties linked to Mirchi who was an aide of fugitive underworld don Dawood Ibrahim. Earlier in the day, Wadhawan arrived at the ED’s office where he had been called for questioning.
DHFL allegedly extended loans to Sunblink Real Estate Pvt Ltd, which purportedly routed money to Mirchi who died in the UK in August 2013.
The ED claimed that its investigation has shown that in 1986, Mirchi bought three properties from the Mohammad Yusuf Trust, an organisation that Mirchi allegedly used as a front to negotiate with several developers. In 2010, when Mirchi was based in Dubai, Sunblink Real Estate Pvt Ltd bought the three properties from him and later developed them. According to the ED, Mirchi signed agreements in 2010 in which he received 90 million dirham for the development rights to these properties. All these are proceeds of crime, the ED said.
Among the four people arrested so far in the case are two alleged aides of Mirchi – Haroun Yusuf, a British national, and Humayun Merchant. Two others who have been arrested are Ranjeet Bindra, a broker, and Rinku Deshpande, through whom Bindra allegedly received his commission. Along with the four, the agency has named Iqbal Mirchi and his family members, and Sunblink Real Estate Pvt Ltd and its directors as accused.
The ED started an investigation into the gangster’s assets in the city on the basis of eight cases of narcotics smuggling and extortion registered against him since 1985. The central agency alleged in 1986, Mirchi purchased three properties from Mohammad Yusuf Trust for ₹6.5 lakh through his company M/s Rockside Enterprises. These properties – Sea View, Marium Lodge and Rabia Mansion – were bought using the proceeds of crime, ED alleged.
As Mirchi subsequently left the country and was declared a proclaimed offender, the properties were confiscated by the Mumbai police under the Smugglers and Foreign Exchange Manipulators Act (SAFEMA). However, during the court battle, the trust alleged that the properties still belonged to them and not Mirchi. The court then handed over the properties to the trust in 2005.
ED claimed Mirchi used the trust as a front and began negotiating with several developers to redevelop the properties. Between 1981 and 2010, the original tenants were replaced with Mirchi’s relatives. The agency claimed that by 2005, almost all tenants were Mirchi’s nominees and were planted by Merchant in connivance with Yusuf.