A special court designated under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) has issued notices to late drug baron Iqbal Mirchi’s wife Hajra Memon and their sons Junaid Memon and Asif Memon to appear before it in a money laundering case registered against them by the Enforcement Directorate.
The application was made by the agency early this month through Special Public Prosecutor Sunil Gonsalves under a provision of the Fugitive Economic Offenders (FEO) Act, 2018 seeking to declare them as Fugitive Economic Offenders under the law.
Such a declaration would pave the way for the agency to confiscate 15 properties in India of the family, among which are two floors of a commercial sea-facing building in Worli worth around Rs. 98 crore. The ED also intends to confiscate six of their bank accounts. Earlier the agency had provisionally attached properties of the family in the country and abroad to the tune of Rs. 798 crore, it said in a press release.
The application to declare the trio as FEOs under the law was made as they had evaded their presence before the special court. Open-ended non-bailable warrants issued against them by the court also could not be executed.
A Fugitive Economic Offender as defined under the FEO Act is an individual against whom a warrant for arrest in relation to a scheduled offence has been issued by any court in India and who has left India to avoid criminal prosecution or being abroad, refuses to return to India, to face criminal prosecution.
Vijay Mallya was the first person to be declared an FEO under the Act that came into force in July 2018, followed by diamantaire Nirav Modi. The latter and Mallya’s assets were ordered to be confiscated by the court under the Act.
The ED has charged the Mirchi family and others including Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Limited (DHFL)’s Kapil Wadhawan and Dheeraj Wadhawan for alleged illegal dealings in purchase and sale of upmarket real estate in Mumbai. The properties were allegedly purchased from profits from Mirchi's drug businesses and hence considered proceeds of crime.