Praful Patel refutes property deal with Dawood's aide

Senior NCP leader Praful Patel. DH Photo

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has issued a summons to senior NCP leader Praful Patel on Friday in connection with a suspected land deal between his family and that of late Iqbal Mirchi, who was a close aide of Dawood Ibrahim.

While Patel and his family have denied any wrongdoing, Union Home Minister and BJP president Amit Shah said it was "nothing short of treason" and Congress President Sonia Gandhi, former Congress President Rahul Gandhi and NCP Chief Sharad Pawar should come clean on the matter.

In Mumbai, Patel told reporters on Tuesday that reports about the land deal were "mere speculation".

Asked whether there is a political motive behind the ED action, he said, "you (media) have a better idea as some papers about which even I wasn't aware have come your way."

"Documents may have been leaked to media. Obviously, you are in possession of some papers, which may have never been brought to my attention," Patel said.

The allegations surfaced recently in the run-up to the Maharashtra Assembly elections where Congress-NCP is locked in a contest against ruling BJP. The ED has claimed that Patel's Millennium Developers Pvt Ltd constructed Ceejay House in 2006-07 and its third and fourth floors were transferred to Mirchi's wife Hazra Iqbal.

"My family owns Millennium. No one else is a partner. There is not even a single paisa worth property transaction between the Patel family and Hazra Memon. Everything is with the court receiver of the Bombay High Court. We are nowhere directly looking after the property and neither are we directly in charge of it," Patel added. 

The agency had alleged that the land was sold to Millenium Developers through "dubious means" and the sale proceeds were "laundered" by Mirchi, who died in 2013.

Patel and the NCP have denied any wrongdoing and said the property papers explain that the transaction is "clean and transparent".

Officials said Patel, also a Rajya Sabha MP, who had earlier appeared before the ED in a money laundering probe related to Air India's losses, has been asked to present himself at the agency's office in Mumbai on October 18.

 

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