The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached seven sugar mills worth over Rs 1,097 crore in a money laundering case against former Uttar Pradesh BSP MLC Mohammed Iqbal and his family, officials said on Tuesday. They said the Lucknow zonal office of the central probe agency has issued a provisional attachment order under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
These mills are “owned” by Iqbal and are located in Kushinagar, Bareilly, Deoria, Hardoi and Barabanki districts of the central Indian state and their total worth is Rs 10,97,18,10,250, the officials said. “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 agency said. The ED alleged that these mills were purchased in the name of shell companies, like NamrataMarketing P Ltd and Giriasho Company P Ltd, under the “control” of Iqbal and his family members.
These mills were acquired by the accused “through laundering of illegitimate money through various shell companies having dummy directors and sham transactions,” the agency alleged. ED Joint Director (Lucknow) Rajeshwar Singh said the probe in the case is “continuing and role of some other people is being investigated”.
The agency had carried out raids at the premises of the former legislator based in Saharanpur, in October last year. It hadfiled a money-laundering case against Iqbal and others after taking cognisance of a criminal complaint filed by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) and cases registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with illegal sand-mining and sale of sugar mills.
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.