NEWS PRAFUL PATEL ED PROBE UNDERWORLD
NEW DELHI: Another former Union minister under the UPA period is in for major grilling. NCP leader and a right-hand man of party chief Sharad Pawar, has been summoned by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with some allegedly dubious property deals in Mumbai.
The deal allegedly involved Patel and Hajra, wife of Iqbal Mirchi, a drug world kingpin who was a close aide of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim. Michi died in London in 2013. ED is investigating submissions to it that Patel, as minister in the Manmohan Singh government, engaged in a quid pro quo deal in ways as to help Mirchi and possibly Dawood too who often operated through Mirchi. Dawood is a UN declared global terrorist, wanted by India in connection with the Mumbai terror attacks and several other heinous offences.
Dawood is known to be operating from a safe hideout provided to him in Pakistan by the government there.
Patel functioned as civil aviation minister in the UPA government and was seen to be a confidant of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. Patel lost the 2014 Lok Sabha polls from Gondia, Maharashtra, in the border region with Madhya Pradesh. He was allegedly involved in several questionable deals, but the Modi government so far gave him a long rope for whatever reasons.
Reports said the ED is investigating deals related to, among others, the Ceejay House in the Worli area of Mumbai. This belonged to Iqbal Mirchi’s first wife Hajra Memon, as per information collected by investigating agencies. The building rests on a plot owned by Iqbal Mirchi. Patel allegedly took possession and redeveloped Ceejay House in 2005. It is believed that the property was purchased by Mirchi as part of his shady deals.
In June this year, the Enforcement Directorate had repeatedly questioned Praful Patel as part of its probe into moneylaundering and loss suffered by Air India due to alleged actions on his part as minster for civil aviation in the UPA period. The questioning followed filing of a criminal complaint by ED in connection with allegations that he played foul in fixing slots for international airlines in ways that helped them and caused serious financial loss to Air India.
It was often alleged that Patel’s greed had resulted in the disastrous financial nonse-dive for Air India during the UPA period. There were also serious allegations against him in connection with the erection of the new International Airport in Delhi, the work of which was overseen by him as minister. However, investigating agencies did not follow up on investigations in ways as to hurt him. IHN-NN
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