The anti-corruption bureau will most likely look into a “money trail" in connection with the case of alleged irregularities in the Delhi Waqf Board recruitment, for which Delhi’s AAP MLA Amanatullah Khan was arrested on September 16.
The controversial legislator was sent to four-day police remand on Saturday, while police are now looking for one of his close aides identified as Kaushar Imam Siddique, alias Laddan. The man went missing after an ACB team seized a country-made pistol and Rs 12 lakh from his flat at Joga Bai Extension in Jamia Nagar.
The anti-corruption agency has also seized a red diary from Laddan’s residence, said to be a crucial piece of evidence. According to the ACB, the spectrum of the investigation can now be broadened as it found links of transactions to states like Telangana, Bihar, Uttarakhand and Gujarat.
How it all began
It all started when the ACB issued a notice to Okhla MLA Amanatullah Khan on September 15, in which he was asked to join the investigation in a two-year-old case against him in connection to alleged irregularities in the Delhi Waqf Board recruitment. An FIR was filed in January 2020, alleging that Khan as the chairman of the Delhi Waqf Board had recruited 32 employees on a contract basis in violation of rules and regulations. It was also alleged that Waqf properties to the tune of Rs 100 crore had been released to unauthorised persons.
Khan was called in for questioning and reached the ACB office a little behind scheduled time around 3 pm, citing Friday prayers. He was grilled for over five hours and, ultimately, arrested around 8.30 pm.
Why Amanatullah was arrested
Madhur Verma, additional commissioner of police heading the Delhi ACB, said, “The Delhi ACB arrested MLA Amanatullah Khan based on incriminating material and evidences against him and from the recovery during searches conducted.”
The questioning had significantly less to do with Khan’s arrest, but whatever happened in South Delhi simultaneously was responsible for this development, said a Delhi Police official on condition of anonymity.
The role of his close aides, arrested Hamid Ali and absconding Laddan, are “yet to be ascertained”. Raids conducted in properties related to them resulted in the seizure of two weapons, including a semi-automatic and unlicensed Beretta, and Rs 24 lakh. According to the ACB, some crucial documents linked to Khan were also seized during these raids leading to his arrest and filing of three separate FIRs.
Denying all allegations against him, Khan said this was an attempt to “defame” the AAP. “They are trying to defame the AAP. Nothing has been found from my house, and I can’t take guarantee of others,” said Khan, while being taken to court.
The ACB, however, turned it around and used the same grounds while seeking a 14-day remand. “Yeh bade smart hai, kuch bhi apne ghar pe nahi rakhte (He’s very smart, he doesn’t keep anything in his own home),” the ACB counsel told the special court.
The arrested Ali’s statement was also read out in court, where he allegedly accepted that he handled Khan’s financial matters. “…Khan had asked me to keep the ammunition, which was to be used at the ‘right time’,” read the statement that the ACB said was given by Ali.
Laddan, however, is on the run. Police are looking for him as they also seized two diaries from his property, which are said to be essential to the case.
Red diary’s role
An ACB official said they had found two diaries from Laddan’s flat. “One red diary has a lot that needs to be investigated. There are entries of crores of rupees, and that, too, in the name of Amanatullah Khan,” the official said.
The agency is anticipating a money trail based on these entries linked to Khan, which has a connection to states like Telangana, Gujarat, Bihar and Uttarakhand. At the same time, there are indications that this has something to do with Dubai too. There is “suspect” entry of Rs 5 crore in the diary in the name of Amanatullah Khan, News18 has learned.
Sources in the ACB said cheque books had also been seized from Ali, along with several other documents that hint at corruption. However, the agency needs to dig deeper and officials want to investigate the case with not just the angle of corruption, sources added.
“The four-day police remand is not going to be sufficient, especially when Laddan is absconding,” said an ACB officer on condition of anonymity. “We are anticipating that Laddan has some more weapons in his possession. Also, he is aware of the whereabouts of cash transactions in this case,” the officer added.
One of the three FIRs registered in the matter is of an ACP-rank officer being manhandled by Khan’s alleged aides. The video of the incident was played in court. The developments have gone against Khan even as four more individuals were detained on Sunday.
Laddan’s arrest will address the holes in the story, officers said. They added that there were theories that he could be in Telangana. Officials are confident that they have inputs about his location, and he will soon be arrested.
The agency is not only focusing on initial allegations but looking at different angles. The allegation of the Delhi Waqf Board properties being illegally rented out to unauthorised people is a significant point in the investigation.