New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday attached seven sugar mills with worth in thousands of crores in a money laundering case against former Uttar Pradesh Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) MLC Mohammed Iqbal and his family. While making the announcement, ED officials informed that the Lucknow zonal office of the central probe agency has issued a provisional attachment order under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
As per reports, these sugar factories are owned by Iqbal and are situated in Kushinagar, Bareilly, Deoria, Hardoi and Barabanki districts of UP. However, what makes it shocking is the approx valuation of these mills which stands at Rs 10,97,18,10,250 or one thousand ninety seven crores, eighteen lakh, ten thousand, two hundred fifty.
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“These mills were sold to Mohd. Iqbal and his family members at a throwaway price of only Rs 60.28 crore through disinvestment/sale process in year 2010-11,” the probe agency claimed. It also allged that all these seven sugar mills were purchased in the name of shell companies, like Namrata Marketing P Ltd and Giriasho Company P Ltd, under the “control” of Iqbal and his family members.
Investigation by ED also reveals that mills were acquired by the accused through different channels of money laundering using the shell companies that have dummy directors and sham transactions.
Even the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has recorded FIR for conducting investigations into the sale of sugar mills to these companies and non-compliance of stipulated rules and procedures by the concerned government officials.
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ED also conducted search operations at the residence of Mohd. Iqbal and his associates in Saharanpur and related premises in Delhi wherein incriminating documents, valuables and records were recovered.
The Supreme Court had in 2016 directed the CBI to conduct a probe against Iqbal after a public interest litigation (PIL) was filed before it, alleging that the former legislator was indulging in corruption and money laundering.