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£1.7 million worth property seized in drug row linked to British Indians

The NCA alleged that Sukhjinder Kaur laundered the proceeds of the crime group’s drug trafficking activities through purchasing property and was also engaged in mortgage fraud

world Updated: Jan 17, 2019 18:27 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
Britain’s crime prevention officials have seized six properties worth £1.7 million from two Punjab-origin associates of an organised crime group involved in the supply of drugs in Staffordshire and the West Midlands.
Britain’s crime prevention officials have seized six properties worth £1.7 million from two Punjab-origin associates of an organised crime group involved in the supply of drugs in Staffordshire and the West Midlands. (Bloomberg)
         

Britain’s crime prevention officials have seized six properties worth £1.7 million from two Punjab-origin associates of an organised crime group involved in the supply of drugs in Staffordshire and the West Midlands.

The two were reportedly linked to nine men and four women who were sentenced at the Stafford Crown Court in December for their involvement in a large-scale conspiracy to supply cocaine.

The group, which was led by three Saeed brothers from Wolverhampton — Abdul, Mohammed and Shabaz — was jailed for a total of more than 50 years.

A civil recovery order by consent made at the high court led to the National Crime Agency seizing property linked to Sukhjinder Kaur, 35, and her brother-in-law Jasvir Singh, 45, also known as Lashman Chatha, under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

The NCA alleged that Kaur laundered the proceeds of the crime group’s drug trafficking activities through purchasing property and was also engaged in mortgage fraud. She amassed a property portfolio worth over £2 million between 2010 and 2013, acquired in her and her company’s name.

Read: Recognition of degree, skilled jobs: UK to open doors for more Indians after Brexit

The NCA alleged that the acquisitions were made at the direct control of Jasvir Singh. Three of the properties had been specifically utilised by the Saeed crime group, including one found to have an extensive underground cannabis factory, it said.

“The respondents denied any involvement in unlawful conduct but they ultimately failed to provide any evidence or consistent account to demonstrate that the properties were funded from legitimate sources”, the NCA said.

Based on the strength of the case against them and in an attempt to avoid a lengthy trial, the two reached a settlement agreement resulting in the recovery by consent of six properties with an approximate net value of £1.7 million.

Andy Lewis of NCA said: “Our message today though is simple. We will utilise all the powers we have to relentlessly pursue those associated with criminality and in doing so, will take away the very assets that criminal activity funds.”

“While the Staffordshire Police were able to prosecute and convict those involved directly in the drug dealing, we have taken action against key associates suspected of links to that network,” Lewis said.

First Published: Jan 17, 2019 18:26 IST