New Delhi, Oct 26, 2019-
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) probe into the property deals related to underworld don Dawood Ibrahim’s close aide late Iqbal Mirchi has started revealing Bolloywood connections with the probe agency set to summon businessman and Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty’s husband Raj Kundra for questioning in connection with the case.
The ED has identified business transactions of Kundra with arrested accused Ranjeet Singh Bindra, who was instrumental in the property deals worth Rs 225 crore.
A senior ED official told, “The agency has got the details of a real estate firm named RKW Developers Private Limited, whose director was Bindra, and it had transactions with Essential Hospitality Limited where actress Shilpa Shetty is one of the directors.”
The official said that RKW Developers invested Rs 44.11 crore in Essential Hospitality and provided an interest free loan of Rs 31.54 crore.
He said that over Rs 30.45 crore of loan was granted to Essential Hospitality between April 2017 and March 2018 and Rs 117.17 crore between April 2016 and March 2017.
The official said, “To understand the nature of the transactions, we will summon Raj Kundra in the coming days for questioning.”
The official said that Kundra’s statement will be recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002.
Kundra had earlier issued a statement in which he said, “Bastian Hospitality, which owns and operates some of Mumbai’s most popular restaurants, has requested Bindra (a director in the company) to step down from his role until he has been cleared by the courts”.
“The shareholders and management unanimously decided that this would be the best move, in the light of the current events. We remain supportive of Bindra, but believe this is the right approach at present, to respect the courts as they conduct their investigations, and our customers who we greatly value,” he added.
When asked if they will also summon Kundra’s wife Shilpa Shetty, the ED official said, “As of now, we first want to question Kundra and then decide whether we need to question her.”
According to the ED, Bindra was allegedly working on the behest of Mirchi and played an important role in negotiating property deals for him along with Mirchi’s associate Humayun Merchant.
Earlier the agency arrested Bindra and Haroun Yusuf, former chairman of a dubious trust, both close aides of Mirchi, from Mumbai. According to the ED, while Bindra acted as a broker for the land deals, Yusuf facilitated them by transferring the money to a trust.
Yusuf became a British national in 2004 and played a crucial role in carrying out illegal deals between Mirchi and real estate developers, which were fixed by Bindra for brokerage of around Rs 30 crore.
The ED has earlier unearthed the corporate connection with former Bhushan Steel promoter Naveen Singal role also under the scanner for the financial transactions to the tune of Rs 19 crore. However, Singal had also denied the links with Mirchi and his aides.
The ED has also questioned former Union Minister and NCP leader Praful Patel for his links with the Mirchi family members. (Agency)