In the latest development in the PMLA case involving underworld Don Dawood Ibrahim and unknown Mumbai-based politician, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has now summoned Faraz Malik, son of NCP leader and Maharashtra Minister Nawab Malik, who is already in police custody.
The ED wants to confront him with his father Nawab Malik and also a few documents and other evidence collected by them.
On February 23, the ED arrested Nawab Malik and later got his custodial remand till March 3.
ED sources have claimed that they have established a money trail linking Nawab Malik to the people connected to the underworld. ED sources have also claimed that they have found details of benami investments of Nawab Malik in a few real estate projects.
The ED had on February 18 arrested Dawood's brother Iqbal Kaskar in the matter.
Salim Qureshi, an aide of Chhota Shakeel, was also interrogated in the case.
On February 3, 2022 the NIA had received an information that Dawood Ibrahim was raising terror funds and was working with Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) and Al Qaeda (AQ). He was controlling the criminal activities in India through his close aides.
The ED filed a PMLA case against Dawood. Another case was lodged against his brother Iqbal Kaskar, Iqbal Mirchi and 19 others. Later both the cases were merged by the ED.
The central probe agency conducted nine raids and recovered incriminating documents from the premises of the aide of Dawood.
Chhota Shakeel's relative Salim Fruit told the probe agency that in 2006 he met Chhota Shakeel three to four times during his Pakistan visit.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has moved an application before the concerned court seeking permission to question Dawood Ibrahim's brother Iqbal Kaskar in a money laundering case.
Iqbal Kaskar has been made an accused in the case. Sources have claimed that ED is planning to arrest him. The court will decide their plea in the coming days.
Salim Qureshi, the aide of Chhota Shakeel is currently being interrogated by a team of elite officials of the probe agency.
Iqbal Kaskar was placed under arrest in 2017 by Thane Police in connection with an extortion case. An FIR under section 384 (extortion), and other relevant sections of the IPC was lodged by Thane Police against Anees Ibrahim, Iqbal Kaskar and others. The ED has taken all the documents from Thane Police pertaining to the case.
The National Investigation Agency too had lodged a case of terror activities on the basis of the FIR of Thane Police and other relevant documents. The ED lodged an ECIR of Money Laundering on the basis of the case lodged by the NIA.
Sources have said that it was learned that Qureshi went to Pakistan several times using a forged passport. He also allegedly works at the behest of Dawood and Shakeel.
The ED has collected the information regarding his bank accounts, properties and other income sources.
Sources have claimed that they used to collect extortion money, and also earned through settlement (solving disputes after creating it themselves), and through drugs. Later this money was allegedly used to spread terror activities across India.
On Wednesday, Qureshi was asked to join the investigation by 11 a.m. The ED had asked him to come with a set of documents pertaining to financial matter.
Further investigation is underway.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Monday filed a case against underworld don Dwaood Ibrahim and others under various sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.
Now the elite probe agency will look into the cases pertaining to the D-company.
Sources have confirmed to IANS that the Union home ministry has given them the approval to start a thorough probe.
An NIA official told IANS that the names of Dwaood Ibrahim and his aides have been mentioned in the FIR filed by the NIA.
The official said for quite a long time Dwaood had been spreading terror activities across India. He has also pumped money through Hawala channels to financially help those who are working at his behest to create unrest across India.
The agencies have been keeping a close eye on the activities of the D-company and have found that in the recent past they have recruited people across India to create riot-like situations.
They are promoting anti-national activities and are also trying to create rifts between different religious groups.
"Earlier, a lot of information was shared with us regarding the involvement of Dawood in a lot of anti-national activities that took place across India. He is recruiting people in India and is financially and logistically helping them to create a riot-like situation. Different social media platforms are being used by them to communicate. We intercepted a few of them and came to know that a deep-rooted conspiracy was being hatched. Now on the basis of the materials available, we have lodged an FIR against Dawood and D-company," said the NIA official wishing anonymity.
NIA Public Relations Officer Sanjukta only confirmed that a case was lodged against the D-company.
Meanwhile, seeing the gravity of the matter, the NIA has formed a team of its elite officials to look into the matter.
A private company in 2005 came up with an offer to start a bouquet of multimedia and telecom services and got into an agreement with Antrix Corporation, the commercial wing of state space agency, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), and made a deal of leasing out two of ISRO's satellites, GSLV-6 & GSLA-6A, for private services at a throw-away price.
It took six years for the then Congress-led UPA government to sense this fraud and later the agreement was cancelled, but then the arbitration started as the private company claimed millions of dollars from the government of India, which was a brazen act of corruption, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Tuesday on the apex court verdict on the Antrix-Devas deal.
The Antrix-Devas agreement was signed in 2005, and after years of controversies, it was cancelled in 2011. Serious objections were raised by various state agencies and departments on this agreement, as it authorised Devas Multimedia Pvt Ltd to use S-band, a very rare bandwidth, mostly used by the arm forces for their communications, and thus it was directly related to national security, said Sitharaman, as she accused the Congress of putting national security on stake for its ‘crony capitalism'.
But the brazenness of corruption didn't stop there only, as an arbitrator was not even appointed by the then UPA government to put forward the government's side, even after repeated requests, she said.
It shows the half-hearty participation of the UPA government, which indirectly supported Devas Multimedia's strategy to come to India on the pretext of investment, she added.
The company siphoned off as much as Rs 488 crore in the name of starting a US-based subsidiary, IT support services and contesting off-shore legal battles in international courts.
Interestingly, the company claimed to provide the said services through Devas Device, Devas Services and Devas Technologies, which were not existing then, said Sitharaman quoting the SC ruling on the Antrix-Devas agreement, upholding the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLAT) order, which earlier had upheld the earlier order of the Bengaluru bench of NCLT that last year directed winding up of Devas Multimedia and appointed a provisional liquidator for the purpose.
Later the company went to international courts and legal fora to claim $1.13 billion as compensation for its losses. Devas then moved the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) on the basis of India- Mauritius bilateral investment protection agreement, which later directed the Indian government to pay $111 million with interest and legal cost.
Devas Multimedia also won before the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) to get an award of $1.3 billion against Antrix. On the other side, the CBI and the ED also started investigating the Antrix- Devas deal and filed FIRs. Even the Ministry of Corporate Affairs had initiated an investigation.
It seemed more like a crime investigation thriller when the Directorate General of GST Intelligence (DGGI) busted a planned all-India tax evasion racket and unearthed Rs 4,521 crore of tax evasion.
A series of raids and investigations landed the DDGI to Kolkata finally, once infamous as den of fake companies' racket, in the post-demonetization period.
The DGGI found out that a syndicate was involved in operating about 636 firms, based out of various cities and duping the government through fake tax invoices.
It all started with a case, booked by the DGGI against some fake firms, which were found non-existing at their principal place of business.
To trace the real persons behind these fake firms, the physical address from where GST returns were actually filed was ascertained.
A search was conducted on January 6 at that premises in Delhi. During the search, it was found that the proprietor is engaged in providing services of 'Cloud Storage' on his servers to various customers for maintaining their financial accounts.
On the scrutiny of one of the suspicious servers, details of certain firms were found in Tally data. It was informed by the proprietor that this Tally data is being maintained by one syndicate based in Kolkata.
The address details of these persons were obtained from Proprietor and then searches were conducted at various premises in Kolkata on January 10.
During the search, a huge amount of incriminating documents including mobiles phones, various cheque books, stamps of various firms and SIM cards have were recovered. On analysis of electronic devices, documents, mobiles and e-mail of these persons, it has been found that these persons are remotely maintaining data on the server found at the premises in Delhi.
Scrutiny of Tally data has shown that there are 636 firms being operated by this syndicate. The mastermind of the syndicate has accepted that they have issued only invoices in these firms and not supplied any goods against them.
They have issued invoices involving the taxable value of approximately Rs 4,521 crore having ITC implication of approx Rs 741 crore.
The mastermind behind the whole racket has been arrested and further investigation into the case is in progress.
A team of Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) officials on Tuesday reached the premises of Kanpur businessman Piyush Jain in Uttar Pradesh's Kannuj where a raid of the Director-General Supplies and Transport (DGST) is still underway.
According to information, the DRI is mulling to file a separate case against Piyush Jain, and will help GST officials in fixing the overall value of gold recovered during the raid.
"On Monday, 23 kg of gold and 600 kg of sandalwood oil hidden in underground storage, having a market value of about Rs 6 crore were seized from his office and factory premises. Since the gold recovered is having foreign markings, the DRI was roped in for necessary investigations," said a GST official.
The DRI officials when contacted didn't divulge more details, however, they said they will be able to comment once the raid is over.
A six-member team of DRI officials reached at Piyush Jain's premises on Tuesday morning. Jain was on Monday remanded to 14-day judicial custody by a special court.
The Ahmedabad unit of Directorate General of GST Intelligence (DGGI) had on December 22 initiated search operations in Kanpur at the factory premises of manufacturers of Shikhar brand Pan Masala and Tobacco Products.
They conducted raids at the office Godowns of M/s Ganpati Road Carriers, Transport Nagar, Kanpur, and the residential/factory premises of M/s Odochem Industries, suppliers of perfumery compounds at Kanpur, Kannauj and Mumbai.
Four trucks full of goods without any GST papers were intercepted by the GST officials.
The actual stock kept at the factory was tallied with the stocks recorded in the books and the GST officials found shortage of raw materials and finished products.
This further corroborated that the manufacturer was indulging in clandestine removal of goods with the help of a transporter who used to issue fake invoices. The GST officials have recovered 200 fake invoices so far.
The manufacturers of the Shikhar brand of pan masala products admitted that they deposited an amount of Rs 3.09 crore towards their tax liability.
GST officials said that till Tuesday afternoon the total amount of unaccounted cash recovered and seized was Rs 186.45 crore. This is the biggest ever seizure of cash by the CBIC officials. The documents seized from the premises are under scrutiny, said officials.
Even five years after demonetisation, curbing the circulation of counterfeit currency in India seems to have remained a distant dream.
India got a breather for just one year post demonetisation, during which there were very few reports of circulation of fake Indian currency notes (FICN). But after a year's of halt, India's western neighbour continued with its nefarious designs to destabilise the country's economy by pumping in fake currency.
The anti-terror unit of Delhi Police -- the Special Cell -- said that since last about four years, many syndicates have again cropped up and started smuggling and circulating FICN in India.
Notably, counterfeiting of currency notes is an offence under the Indian Penal Code. Further, production, smuggling or circulation of high-quality fake Indian paper currency, coin or any other material has been made a terrorist act under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.
As India's western border is heavily guarded, Pakistan is now using other routes to infiltrate counterfeit money from two neighbouring countries with which India shares its borders.
A Special Cell official told IANS that from the investigation of various cases of big seizures of FICN in Kathmandu (Nepal), Bangladesh and in India after demonetisation, it has been strongly suspected that big consignment of FICN are first brought to Nepal and Bangladesh from Pakistan through Gulf countries by air.
From there, the counterfeit money is smuggled into India through the porous international borders of Nepal and Bangladesh by the the members of global FICN syndicates. Their counterparts and contacts in India further supply the FICN to different parts of the country through a pre-existing network of FICN.
Pertinently, a Memorandum of Understanding has also been signed between India and Bangladesh to prevent counter-smuggling and circulation of fake currency notes.
Training programmes are conducted for the officers of Bangladesh and Nepal Police to develop their competence in the areas of detection, investigation and effective prosecution of cases relating to fake currency.
The major challenge is that the recovered fake currencies are of such fine quality, that it is difficult to distinguish them from the original ones by the naked eye, as the notes have almost similar security features as that of the real currency in terms of texture, fine quality of paper, colour, security thread and watermarks.
The information shared by the Special Cell came in the wake of the arrest of two West Bengal natives who were involved in the circulation of fake currency. It was learnt that both the arrested persons had already supplied FICN amounting to more than Rs 2 crore in the national capital during the past two years.
But what are the steps taken by the Indian government to tackle this menace?
Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Nityanand Rai, had informed the Parliament during the Monsoon Session that a Terror Funding and Fake Currency Cell (TFFC) has been constituted under the National Investigation agency (NIA) to conduct a focused investigation into terror funding and fake currency cases.
He had said that security at the international borders has been strengthened by using new surveillance technologies, deploying additional manpower for round-the-clock surveillance, establishing observation posts along the international borders, erection of border fencing and intensive patrolling.
The maximum punishment for offences related to fake currency is up to life imprisonment.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Uttar Pradesh has demanded that the income of Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav income be investigated.
State MSME Minister and government spokesperson Siddharth Nath Singh questioned Yadav's support to certain members of his party who were raided by the income tax department recently.
He accused Akhilesh Yadav of lying about the income tax raids and defending his party members on the pretext of elections and trying to gain sympathy in the name of raids.
The minister said that the SP president should accept that those close to him were tax evaders and that he, too, is their partner.
"Undeclared assets of Rs 400 crore were found in the income tax raids. The income of Akhilesh Yadav and his family should also be investigated. The SP had prepared to fund the elections with this illegal money, but their plans could not be realised. Akhilesh should clarify what relation he has with those who were raided," Singh said.
Singh said that loot, theft and corruption were in the DNA of the SP, and this was confirmed by the income tax raids and a recent CAG report on Noida.
"Akhilesh had turned Noida into a den of loot. The CAG report has exposed corruption to the tune of over Rs 58,000 crore in the allotment of land in Noida during the SP rule. The CAG report exposes how corrupt officials played with the interests of the public at Akhilesh's behest," the minister said.
A tribunal, which is examining the validity of the five-year extension of ban on Zakir Naik's Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) by the Centre as an unlawful association under the UAPA, commenced its proceedings on Monday and issued notice to the banned organisation.
The tribunal is headed by Delhi High Court Chief Justice D.N. Patel. Naik, an Indian-born controversial Islamic preacher had fled to Malaysia in 2016 when the police lodged a case against him for "anti-national" activities, including promoting hatred among the religious communities through his speeches. The Centre had constituted a seven-member legal team to defend its decision to declare the IRF as an unlawful association along with the extension of the ban by five years.
The tribunal has sought response from the organisation by December 28.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who is heading the Centre's legal team defending the extension of the ban, volunteered to publish the notice in leading dailies, over and above regular service so that the banned organisation cannot take any technical defence.
Besides Mehta, the other counsel in the Centre's team are senior advocate Sachin Datta, Rajat Nair, Kanu Agrawal, Amit Mahajan, Jay Prakash, and Dhruv Pandey.
The Centre has constituted an Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Tribunal headed by Justice Patel under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA) provisions to adjudicate whether there is sufficient cause for banning IRF, founded by the controversial Islamic preacher Naik.
The Ministry of Home Affairs' notification dated December 13 read: "The Central Government hereby constitutes an Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Tribunal consisting of Justice D.N. Patel, Chief Justice of High Court of Delhi, for the purpose of adjudicating whether or not there is sufficient cause for declaring the Islamic Research Foundation as an unlawful association."
The ban on the IRF was extended by 5 years by the MHA through a notification issued on November 15.
The government apprehended that IRF cadre and supporters may disrupt the secular fabric of the country by polluting the minds of the people by creating communal disharmony, propagating anti-national sentiments, escalating secessionism by supporting militancy, and undertaking activities that are prejudicial to the sovereignty, integrity, and security of the country and it was necessary to extend the ban on IRF for five years more.
"In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (1) of section 3 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (37 of 1967), the Central Government declared the IRF as an unlawful association, vide, notification of the Government of India in the Ministry of Home Affairs number SO 3460(E), dated the 17th November, 2016," the MHA notification reads.
The Supreme Court on Thursday said it expects a fair investigation and investigating agencies should be neutral, as it asked Delhi Police to conclude the probe in a case against former Fortis Healthcare promoter Shivinder Mohan Singh by December 15.
A bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana told Additional Solicitor General K.M. Nataraj, representing the Delhi Police's Economic Offence Wing (EOW): "We kept the matter pending. Again, you want time. One thing you have to remember, you should not take sides."
Singh, along with others, is accused of misappropriating Rs 2,397 crore of Religare Finvest Ltd (RFL) funds.
Senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, representing Singh, said the apex court had granted further time to conclude the probe and now they (the authorities) are again seeking more time.
The bench, also comprising Justices A.S. Bopanna and Hima Kohli, added: "You need to carry out a fair investigation. We are not bothered who has taken money. In criminal offences, investigating agencies have to be neutral..."
Natraj submitted that the investigation is at an advanced stage and added that by December end, the probe will be complete. The bench said it will not give a lot of time to the police to complete the investigation into the matter. "We are listing the matter for December 15," it said.
Senior advocate R Basant, representing complainant Manpreet Suri of RFL, contended that it will be dangerous to release Singh and added that Rs 200 crore have been paid to silence witnesses in the matter.
As this, the bench said: "You want to file proceedings to settle scores. We don't allow that."
It made it clear that it is a case for bail and it will decide whether to grant or reject bail. "Don't enlarge the scope of this matter. This is a simple case for bail," said the bench.
The Delhi High Court had cancelled Singh's bail, noting that his detention was necessary to unearth the "conspiracy hatched by him" and trace the alleged siphoned off money.
Singh had moved the top court against the Delhi High Court order, which came on RFL's plea challenging the trial court order passed on March 3, granting him bail in the case registered against him by the Delhi Police's EoW for cheating, criminal conspiracy, and criminal breach of trust.
In March 2019, the EOW had registered an FIR after it received a complaint from RFL's Suri against Shivinder Mohan Singh, former CMD of Religare Enterprises Ltd Sunil Godhwani and former CEO Kavi Arora and others. It was alleged that loans were taken by them while managing the firm, but the money was invested in other companies.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has issued summons to Amazon India's management and Future Group promoter for questioning in a Foreign Exchange Management Act case.
Amazon India's top management including its head Amit Agarwal was summoned by ED for next week, said the source. The official said that they have been asked to join the probe on December 6.
The ED is probing alleged irregularities in the Amazon and Future Retail promoter entity Future Coupons Pvt Ltd (FCPL) deal wherein Amazon purchased stakes in FCPL by investing around Rs 1,400 crore in 2019.
The agency has asked both the companies to come with all sets of documents about the deal.
The financial investigating agency is probing alleged FEMA violations by Amazon when it bought stakes in FCPL in 2019.
FCPL owns 10 percent stake in Future Retail, the promoter entity that runs Big Bazaar, Food Bazaar and Easyday retail stores.
The agency is also probing whether Amazon has taken over controlling rights over Future Retail with its purchase of stake in FCPL in 2019.
It is alleged that in March this year, Future Group promoter firm FCPL had complained to the Competition Commission of India that Amazon had allegedly concealed information and misrepresented facts while seeking the competition watchdog's approval for its Rs 1,431 crore investment to purchase a 49 percent stake in FCPL in 2019.