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The Iqbal Mirchi empire: What investigators have learnt so far?

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Bengaluru, April 21: Rs 3000 crore is not a small amount. From cricket betting to arms and drug deals to property transactions, this was the world controlled by Iqbal Mirchi the once right hand man of Dawood Ibrahim.

The Enforcement Directorate which has launched a probe into the dealings of Muhammed Iqbal Memon alias Iqbal Mirchi has its task cut out. The dealings are immense and money has been circulated and laundered through hawala since the past 10 years.

The Iqbal Mirchi empire decoded

There are property sales, money made out of betting and also arms and drug deals an officer of the Enforcement Directorate associated with the probe informed OneIndia.

The betting syndicate

Mirchi who lived in London and even died there in the year 2013 was one of the most important aides of Dawood Ibrahim. Although Mirchi repeatedly denied having any links with Dawood, the evidence against him prepared by the Indian police was overwhelming in nature.

Mirchi after having being given a clean chit by the Scotland Yard stayed on in London and his extradition to India was even turned down on technical grounds.

While Mirchi who was termed as the Number One drug lord of India made most of his money through the sale of narcotics, the betting syndicate is something that he controlled very dearly.

They did not just bet on games, they even fixed them. They had the muscle power and in several occassions have trapped cricketers by laying honey traps too, an officer with the Central Bureau of Investigation informed.

Out of the Rs 3000 crore which the Enforcement Directorate suspects was laundered by the Mirchi syndicate, the cricket betting racket easily netted in at least Rs 1000 to Rs 1500 crore, investigators suspect.

He was Dawood's most trusted man and always looked after the big businesses which had high stakes in them, investigations had found. What the investigators had found was that it was the D Company that fixed the games and trapped the cricketers.

Mirchi's role had been limited to launder the money. Even after his death in 2013, large sums of money had been laundered in his name. The syndicate and the routes that he had set up continue to operate till date. Mirchi in fact had different routes for different businesses. The cricket money was always routed in and out of Dubai.

Funding terror

The Enforcement Directorate had found that it was Mirchi who moved around all the money for Dawood and his syndicate. Money was moved out of various parts of the world and while Mirchi was alive, he operated out of London.

Mirchi had however denied any wrong doing and claimed that he had been targeted only because he was a successful Muslim businessman.

It has been found that while the conduits of Dawood moved around the drugs and arms, the payments would always land up with Mirchi. It was Mirchi's responsibility to ensure that the money was routed correctly.

He always routed money through a hawala ring in Delhi. The money would also find its way into Pakistan several times where it would land up in the arms of terrorist groups.

India has always maintained that terrorist operations in Pakistan are funded heavily by the Dawood gang. This in fact is a protection money that Dawood pays to the ISI. He has to pay up anything between 20 to 40 per cent to the ISI for every deal he carries out.

The ISI in turn would help Dawood smuggle around his arms and ammunition. However for Dawood having a safe passage between Afghanistan and the rest of the world to carry out the drug trade was most important and he needed ISI protection and approval for the same.

Investing in real estate

The D Gang and Mirchi had varied business interests. The latest on the scanner was real estate. Dawood's conversation had in fact been intercepted by the Intelligence Bureau when he was striking a real estate deal in Dubai. He had purchased a plot at an exorbitant amount two months back.

In the case of Mirchi the ED had found that there were around 3 to 4 bank accounts operative in the name of his family members in Mumbai. Several documents have been obtained and this would show that his family members had sold off five prime properties in Mumbai.

The properties under the scanner are at Worli Sea face and measured around 6000 sq metres.

This money was in turn moved through a hawala channel abroad where it was meant to be invested in real estate. The D Gang and Mirchi have focused on purchasing assets in benami names in Dubai and London.

Bringing back the money

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched a campaign against bringing back black money into India, there was also talk about sourcing back the money earned by terrorists.

However bringing back money laundered around by terrorists such as Dawood or Mirchi is a herculean task for any country. The money is parked in various names and is laundered around through hawala.

Hawala in fact is extremely difficult to track and this is why every terrorist group relies on it so much. Hawala is the oldest form of money transfer and considered to be the most trustworthy.

Officials with the ED say that they have provided the details of the money transactions. The Special Investigation Team would have to go further into it.

There has to be cooperation with those countries in which the money has been parked and a lot of effort needed in bringing it back the ED official also informed.

OneIndia News

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