"Mere Speculation": NCP's Praful Patel On Alleged Property Deal With Dawood Ibrahim Aide

NCP leader Praful Patel said that there is not even a single paisa worth property transaction between the Patel family and Hazra Memon.

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'Mere Speculation': NCP's Praful Patel On Alleged Property Deal With Dawood Ibrahim Aide

Praful Patel said no property transaction between the Patel family and Hazra Memon.


New Delhi: 

Former Union Minister Praful Patel rubbished the reports as "mere speculation" about his alleged deal in Mumbai with gangster Iqbal Mirchi, saying there wasn't even "single paisa worth property transaction".

Mr Patel, who is leader of Nationalist Congress Party, has been summoned by the Enforcement Directorate on October 18 over an alleged property deal between him and Hazra Memon, the wife of drug smuggler Iqbal Mirchi, a close aide of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim.

The Enforcement Directorate has claimed that Millennium Developers, a firm run by Praful Patel, transferred two floors in Mumbai's Ceejay House to Hazra Memon in 2007 "towards beneficial interest of Iqbal Mirchi in the land" on which it was built.

"My family owns Millennium. No one else is a partner," Mr Patel said.

"There is not even a single paisa worth property transaction between the Patel family and Hazra Memon," the NCP leader added on Tuesday during a press briefing.

The former Union minister stressed that Ceejay House property was purchased by his family in 1963 from the Scindias, the former royal family of Gwalior.

A dispute developed in the Patel family and a suit was filed in 1978 and the property passed under the control of the Bombay High Court's receiver, Praful Patel said.

"There were two hotels in adverse possession (encroaching) on our property known as Shriniketan, were owned by MK Mohammed.

During the legal issue, Mohammed agreed to compromise and in 1988 and in 1990, he transferred the property to Hazra Iqbal Memon legally. There is a proper registration of this transfer duly registered at the office of sub-registrar here in Mumbai," Mr Patel was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.

The NCP leader said that if the government agencies had any reason to believe that Hazra Iqbal Memon was an undesirable person, it should have been duly notified to us.

"She had been paying rent, filing income tax returns and living in the country at the time. She was even given a passport to travel to Saudi Arabia in 1999. In the same year, the Supreme Court had restored her passport and given her along with all the rights to travel," the NCP leader was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

The Enforcement Directorate is expected to record Mr Patel's statement under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act in connection with the property deal. He has been questioned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in another money laundering case linked to the aviation scam.

The BJP has attacked Mr Patel's party, the Nationalist Congress Party, and the Congress on the issue, alleging links between the former minister and a fugitive criminal. The Congress and the NCP are contesting the coming state elections as an alliance.

Congress leader Anand Sharma has said that Enforcement Directorate has initiated action as elections are around the corner.

"Elections are around that's why ED has summoned Praful Patel. It has never happened before. Law will take its own course and the country should run per laws enshrined in the Constitution," Mr Sharma was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

The investigative agency has identified the Benami properties of Iqbal Mirchi, including 10 properties in Mumbai, one property in UAE and 25 properties in the UK.

The ED will start the process to attach the properties in India and letters will be sent to the UK and the UAE to attach the properties.

(With inputs from ANI, PTI)



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