New Delhi: Controversial meat exporter Moin Akhtar Qureshi was on Saturday sent to five-day custody of the Enforcement Directorate by a city court for "thorough investigation" in a money laundering probe against him and others.
Special Judge Arun Bharadwaj sent the accused to ED custody till August 31 after the probe agency said his custodial interrogation was required to unearth crime proceeds and money trail and to confront him with the documents.
While seeking his custody for 14 days, ED's special prosecutor N K Matta told the court that Qureshi was in possession of more evidence in this case and was withholding them, jeopardising the probe.
"Considering the seriousness of the allegations and to enable the ED to complete thorough investigation, ED custody remand of Moin Akhtar Qureshi for five days, that is till August 31 is granted," the court said.
The agency told the court that "the witnesses have confirmed in their statements that they have delivered crores of rupees for Qureshi and his associates through his employees and one of the witnesses has stated that nearly Rs 1.75 crore have been exported by the accused from him and his friend in lieu of the help provided to him in a CBI case."
It also alleged that Qureshi was involved in hawala transactions through Delhi hawala operators Parvez Ali of Turkman Gate and M/s South Delhi Money Changer (DAMINI) in Greater Kailash-1, owned by one D S Anand.
According to the agency, Qureshi was arrested late Friday night here under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) after "he was not cooperating in the probe".
Qureshi has been questioned several times in the past by the agency which is probing his role following the registration of two FIRs under the PMLA, the agency said, adding that he was arrested in connection with offence alleged in the last FIR in which former CBI Director A P Singh has also been named.
The earlier PMLA case against Qureshi was lodged by the ED in 2015, based on an Income Tax prosecution complaint, it said.
The ED said 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, have "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 agency 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, it said.
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 offices 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 agency 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.