The Enforcement Directorate (ED) recently conducted follow-up search operations on the narco-financial trail in connection with a money laundering case involving drug trafficker Ali Asgar Shirazi and kingpin Kailash Rajput's drug syndicate, including hawala operations from the USA and Gulf countries to India.
Details of ED's investigation
The search was done at the residence of Haider Abbas in Indira Nagar, Lucknow. Haider's name emerged during the investigation and interrogation of Shirazi. The ED uncovered suspicious transactions in Sherazi's bank accounts involving Haider, amounting to crores. It is alleged that these transactions are not only considered suspicious but are also purportedly linked to narcotics and psychotropic substances, suggesting illicit earnings. During the operation, ED seized a total of Rs. 2.17 Crore in Fixed Deposit Receipts (FDRs) and cash.
Ali Asgar Shirazi |
Additionally, incriminating documents related to properties and transaction records associated with opioid medicines were confiscated. In the course of the search operation, Haider declined to undergo a personal search. He has been summoned to appear before ED officials in Mumbai.
Searches at private consulting firms in Lucknow
Apart from Haider, the ED recently conducted searches at private consulting firms in Lucknow. During the investigation, it was discovered that M/S Zetetic Techno India Private Limited, a Lucknow-based company, directed by one Abdul Samad and his wife Zeeshan Ahmad, was involved in money laundering for Shirazi and absconding drugs kingpin Rajput. During the investigation, ED found that the Lucknow-based firm deposited a sum of Rs. 5.50 crore into Ali Asghar Sirazi's courier company, M/s One Logistic, and into the accounts of Ali Asghar Sirazi and his wife Mahreen Shirazi.
Kailash Rajput |
ED investigations show that Zetetic Techno India Private Limited, aligning with its declared business, functions as a consultancy company. Abdul Samad and Zeeshan Ahmad are directors in M/s Zetetic Techno India Private Limited. An analysis of the company's accounts revealed that it receives credits either in cash or from foreign companies, disguised as under the umbrella of consultancy services. Allegedly, the routing of these funds from the consultancy company and its directors to logistic companies of Shirazi appears to lack a clear rationale, it seems to be a method employed to channelise narco-funds into bank funds, as cash and hawala channels act as the veins in the network for the flow of any drug syndicate.
2020 Mumbai Crime Branch investigation
The names of Haider Abbas and Abdul Samad, whose premises were searched by the ED, surfaced two years ago in the 2020 Mumbai Crime Branch investigation. When the Property Cell arrested the drugs peddler Inayat Ali, his statement, accessed by FPJ, revealed that Haider Abbas, Abdul Samad alias Nawab, Pappu Delhi, Sajid Mirza, and Tushar Dengde were part of the Kailash Rajput drugs syndicate, with Ali Asghar Sherazi leading Rajput’s business in India. Although the Property Cell conducted searches based on Inayat's revelations at that time, no one was found. Following the arrest of Ali Asghar Sherazi, the ED allegedly found links to other associates in the narco-financial trail associated with the syndicate.
The ED investigation revealed that Sherazi formed nine logistics companies, suspected of being used for narcotics trafficking and money laundering. Ali Asghar Sherazi sent narcotics substances through these logistics companies to the USA, where Kailash Rajput received the drug consignments and supplied them. Funds were received through various consultancy firms and individuals.
ED found that Shirazi's firm, M/s One Logistics, was involved in financial transactions with M/s Hosea Worldwide Express and Ezhil Cezhian. The investigation also uncovered that both companies had been convicted of transnational drug conspiracy, importing misbranded prescription drugs, including Tramadol (known as ISIS fighter drugs) and synthetic opioids, into the United States from India