Mumbai, Oct 30 (IANS) Businessman Raj Kundra, husband of bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty, on Wednesday deposed before the Enforcement Directorate for questioning in the probe into underworld don Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar’s close aide late Iqbal Mirchi’s associates, admitting that he had business dealings with arrested accused Ranjeet Singh Bindra.
An ED source told IANS: “Kundra during questioning accepted that he knew Bindra for some time and had business dealings with him.”
Kundra was questioned for over nine hours under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) for the financial dealings with Bindra. The source, however, claimed that Kundra during questioning said he did not know about the relations of Bindra with Mirchi or his close associates.
Speaking to media while coming out of the ED office, Kundra said that he never met Mirchi and that he would share all details with the agency required for the probe.
The ED action comes after the central probe agency zeroed in on a real estate firm, RKW Developers Private Limited, controlled by Bindra, which had transactions with Essential Hospitality Limited, where Kundra and Shetty are directors.
The source said the agency is planning to grill Dheeraj Wadhwan, also a director in the RKW Developers Private Limited.
According to ED officials, RKW Developers invested Rs 44.11 crore in Essential Hospitality and provided an interest-free loan of Rs 31.54 crore. The ED official said that over Rs 30.45-crore loan was granted to Essential Hospitality between April 2017 and March 2018 and Rs 117.17 crore between April 2016 and March 2017.
Bindra, who was instrumental in the property deals worth Rs 225 crore of Mirchi and his family members and also securing unsecured loan to the Sunblink Real Estate Pvt Ltd to the tune of Rs 2,086 crore, was arrested on October 11.
Kundra has denied any wrongdoing.
Besides Bindra, the agency arrested Haroun Yusuf, former chairman of a dubious trust, both close aides of Mirchi, from Mumbai.
According to the ED, while Bindra acted as a broker for the land deals, Yusuf facilitated them by transferring the money to a trust.
Yusuf became a British national in 2004 and played a crucial role in carrying out illegal deals between Mirchi and real estate developers, which were fixed by Bindra for brokerage of around Rs 30 crore.
The ED had earlier unearthed the corporate connection with the role of former Bhushan Steel promoter Naveen Singal, who is under the scanner for the financial transactions to the tune of Rs 19 crore.
However, Singal had also denied the links with Mirchi and his aides.
The ED has also questioned former Union Minister and NCP leader Praful Patel for his links with Mirchi family members.