Mumbai: 45-year-old Rinku Deshpande, who was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Tuesday a money-laundering and terror financing probe against the late international drug-kingpin Iqbal Mirchi, was remanded in the directorate’s custody by a special PMLA court till Friday.
Rinku, whose family is said to be close to Mirchi, faces charges of forging documents and receiving commissions from the sale of three properties belonging to the latter by posing as a receiver of the money on behalf of dummy tenants.
The ED told the court on Wednesday Rinku admitted that she was a ‘fake confirming party’ and confessed to receiving Rs30-40 crore as commission for the same.
The deal pertains to the sale of three properties in Worli which Mirchi had purchased from the Sir Mohammad Yusuf Trust for Rs6.5 lakh through his company, Rockside Enterprises, in 1985.
The properties, admeasuring 1,537 sq metres included three bungalows — Mariam Lodge, Sea View and Rabina Mansion. By 1993, subsequent payments were made to the Yusuf trust by 1993. However, when Mirchi absconded. the properties — including the three — were attached under SAFEMA.
The attachments were later removed in 2005 as the Yusuf trust faked documents claiming as owners of the property. By that time, the original tenants in the property had been replaced by relatives of Mirchi’s frontman Humayun Merchant.
Later, Mirchi allegedly entered into an agreement to sale the properties to Joy Home Creation Ltd through Humayun for Rs11 crore.
However, the deal could not proceed further. Again in 2010, Sunblink Reality Pvt Ltd agreed to buy the properties for Rs225 crore, of which Rs50 crore was to be paid to Joy Homes, and Rs4.25 crore to Yusuf trust, while the rest Rs170.75 crore was to be paid to the fake tenants created by Humayun, the ED said.
From the papers confiscated during searches, the ED learnt Rs43 crore (of the Rs170,76 crore) remains to be paid to the tenents till November 2019.
In fact, the ED suspects the rest Rs127 crore had already been laundered to Mirchi through hawala channels after encashing the cheques from fake bank accounts in Chennai.
Rinku, who was allegedly introduced to the deal by Bandra-based reality broker Ranjit Singh Bindra — had played a key role in facilitating the laundering.
She is said to have received Rs30-40 crore from Sunblink in her account which was later distributed among brokers, including herself. The agency claimed Rinku had attempted to camouflage the transaction by claiming that the money was actually a repayment of Rs38 crore cash loans she had given to Bindra. However, Bindra denied of having taken any loans from her, the ED said.
She had also attempted appointed a counsel through her husband, Nilesh Deshpande, to become a fake tenant in one of these properties. The ED also told the court a trading company was opened by her to transfer the proceeds of the sale to bank accounts opened in Chennai by submitting fake KYC details.
The proceeds from the sale of the properties is suspected to have been used by Mirchi to purchase a five start hotel in Dubai for UAE 90 million. The bail plea of Bindra is likely to come up for hearing on Thursday.
Ex-promoter of Bhushan Steel summoned
The ED’s probe into property deals related to Iqbal Mirchi, fugitive don Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar’s close aide, has started revealing corporate connections with the agency summoning former promoter of Bhushan Steel over Rs19 crore transaction.
A senior ED official said, "We have summoned Naveen Singal, former promoter of Bhushan Steel, for having financial dealings with the family members of Mirchi.”
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