ED arrests Moin Qureshi in money laundering case

SansadTV Bureau
Enforcement Directorate Building in New Delhi. (Web Extract).

Enforcement Directorate Building in New Delhi. (Web Extract).

Controversial meat exporter Moin Akhtar Qureshi has been arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with money laundering probe against him and others.

The ED officials said Qureshi was arrested late lastnight here after he was called for questioning in the case.

The meat exporter has been arrested under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and would be produced before a court today, they said, alleging that he was not cooperating in the probe.

Qureshi has been questioned multiple times in the past by the agency which is probing him after it registered two FIRs under the PMLA.

In the latest FIR against him this year, former CBI Director A P Singh has also been named.

Qureshi has been arrested in this case, they said.

The earlier PMLA case against Qureshi was booked by the ED in 2015, based on an Income Tax prosecution complaint.

The ED, in a statement, said that its probe has revealed facts which “constitute omission and commission of certain acts on the part of certain public servants holding high positions in the public office in collusion with Qureshi, thereby huge amount of illegal money was found to have been transacted”.

The records collected by the ED from the Income Tax (I-T) Department, in the form of BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) messages, has “revealed that Qureshi has taken huge amount of money from different persons for obtaining undue favours from public servants after exercising his personal influence”, it said.

BBM messages exchanged between Qureshi and the accused persons involved in other criminal cases and also the persons who wanted to seek undue favours from the other investigating agencies of government by getting them off the hook, the statement said.

There were also BBM exchanges between Qureshi and former CBI chief Singh, which are being probed both by the ED and the CBI as part of their separate criminal investigations.

In this way, the ED said, Qureshi “obtained huge amount of money and it was obtained in the name of government servants/political persons holding public office and the said public servants illegally either obtained the money for themselves or through their kin.”

The agency said an analysis of the BBM messages retrieved from mobile phones of Qureshi and his associates revealed that hawala operators were also used to transfer bribe money (belonging to government officials) to foreign locations like Paris and the UK.

“Qureshi has extorted crores of rupees from a businessman from Hyderabad in lieu of the help provided. He was found involved in hawala transactions through Delhi-based hawala operators,” the statement said.

Through them, the agency alleged, the money was transferred to Dubai and then to Paris, London, the US, Hong Kong, Italy and Switzerland.

It said the agency had also seized “huge amount” of unaccounted cash after it conducted raids in this case in the past at a hawala operator operating in the national capital.

The meat exporter is facing separate probes by the I-T Department and the CBI for alleged tax evasion, money laundering and corruption among others.

The I-T Department is probing Qureshi under the new Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015 as probe led it to few foreign assets owned or held by the meat exporter and his family in an alleged illegal manner as they were not declared or reported to Indian tax authorities.

The case emerged after the tax department first carried out searches against Qureshi and his firm in February, 2014.