The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has seized ₹75 lakhs of Indian and foreign currency as well as some documents pertaining to nearly 200 bank accounts and 50 shell entities from the premises of jailed gangster-turned-politician Atiq Ahmed and his associates.
The seizure followed a massive raid conducted by the ED sleuths at 15 locations in Uttar Pradesh's Prayagraj on Wednesday.
The documents pertaining to nearly 200 bank accounts and 50 shell entities, which were seized during these raids, the ED said were used for laundering of ill-gotten money generated out of extortion, land grabbing and other criminal activities.
"Documents of over 100 properties in the name of Atiq Ahmed's close associates and firms have also been found. These properties are suspected to be Atiq's benami properties," said the federal agency.
Cash transactions worth over 50 crores have been unearthed
"Cash transactions worth more than 50 crores have also been unearthed in the searches. Documents of properties (forcibly) purchased from farmers apparently through criminal intimidation have also been found." The agency on Wednesday searched the premises of Atiq and his relative Khalid Zafar, his advocate-cum-accomplice Saulat Hanif Khan, his associates Asad, Vadood Ahmed, Kali, Mohsin, chartered accountant Sabeeh Ahmed, chartered accountant Asif Jafri, Seetaram Shukla (accountant), real estate developers Sanjeev Aggarwal and Deepak Bhargav.
The ED raids were part of its ongoing money laundering investigation against Atiq and those linked to him.
The raids were conducted at a time when Ahmed is being brought to Prayagraj from the Sabarmati Jail in Gujarat for his production in a local court in connection with the Umesh Pal murder case.
The case in which Ahmed is facing trial is linked to the murder of Pal and his two police security guards who were shot dead outside his home in Prayagraj's Dhoomanganj area on February 24 this year.
Uttar Pradesh Police had registered a First Information Report (FIR) on February 25 against Ahmed, his brother Ashraf, his wife Shaista Parveen, two sons, aides Guddu Muslim and Ghulam, and nine others following a complaint lodged by Pal's wife.
In 2021, the ED had attached immovable and movable assets, consisting of land and money in several bank accounts worth ₹8.14 crore, belonging to mafia-turned-politician Atiq Ahmed and his wife in connection with the money laundering case.
Land property situated at mauza Katka, Paragana Jhunsi, Tehsil Phulpur, in name of Shaista Parveen, wife of Ahmad was attached. This was acquired by Ahmad for only Rs 4.5 crore which is far below the government's value of ₹6.86 crore. In addition, the ED had also attached a bank account balance of Rs 1.28 crore lying in 10 bank accounts of Ahmed and one account of Shaista Parveen.
The ED initiated an investigation under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) after taking cognizance of several FIRs lodged against Ahmed in different police stations, related to murder, extortion, cheating, forgery, land grabbing and crimes of similar nature.
After its investigation under PMLA, the ED said that Ahmed through criminal activities used to earn black money in cash and the same was deposited in several bank accounts of the gangster, his kin and close associates.
It has been noticed by the ED that these funds are being credited to their accounts from various firms and companies of his aides, the ED had said earlier, adding "These funds have been further utilized for buying land in the name of his wife at the consideration price far below the government's value".
The ED has said that it had gathered data from the IT department and other agencies related to the companies being run by Ahmed's aides