New Delhi (10.03.2021): The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached seven sugar mills owned by former UP MLC Mohd. Iqbal and his family members. The mills are valued at about ₹1,097, while they were sold to Mohd. Iqbal and his family members at a throwaway price of only ₹ 60.28 Crore through the UP government's disinvestment/sale process in 2010-11.
Interestingly, Mohd. Iqbal owes his political allegiance to the BSP and the official records show his educational qualification as 12th pass.
The case against Iqbal and his family for money laundering was initiated on the basis of the investigations conducted by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO), Ministry of Corporate Affairs, Delhi relating to the acquisition of assets through illegitimate means in 2010-2011 by Mohd. Iqbal, ex MLC Saharanpur and others.
The investigations showed that Namrata Marketing Pvt. Ltd and Giriasho Company Pvt. Ltd., shell companies under the control of Mohd. Iqbal and family members participated in the bidding process of disinvestment of sugar mills of the UP government during 2010-11 and acquired 07 sugar mills i.e. (a) Laxmiganj Sugar Unit, Kushinagar, (b) Bareilly Unit, Nekpur and Saidpur Village, Bareilly (c) Deoria Unit, Salempur Majholi, Deoria, (d) Hardoi Unit, Nanankganj, Grunt, Gopamau, Hardoi, (e) Barabanki Unit, Pargana-Nawabganj, Barabanki, (f) Ramkola Unit, Pargana-Sidhua Jogana, Kushinagar (h) Chhitauni Unit, Pargana-Sidhua, Padrauna, Kushinagar through the laundering of money from illegitimate source routed through various shell companies.
A press release issued by the ED said that the Performance Audit Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (C & AG) on “Sale of Sugar Mills of Uttar Pradesh State Sugar Corporation Limited” for the year ended 31.03.2011 also highlighted the administrative and financial discrepancies/irregularities in the disinvestment/sale process of the sale of sugar mills at Bareilly, Kushinagar, Hardoi, Deoria & Barabanki which were acquired by Namrata Marketing P Ltd and Giriasho Company P Ltd., companies under the control of Mohd. Iqbal and his associates.
The CBI has also recorded FIR for conducting investigations into the sale of sugar mills to these companies and non-compliance of stipulated rules and procedures by the concerned government officials.
The ED has recorded statements of key associates of Mohd. Iqbal, accommodation entry operator, and dummy directors of various companies. The evidence was also collected from banks, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, the District Property Registration Authorities & the Income Tax department. Further, search operations were also conducted at the residence of Mohd. Iqbal and his associates in Saharanpur and related premises in Delhi wherein incriminating documents, valuables, and records were recovered.
Further investigations conducted by the ED has revealed that during 2010-2011, Namrata Marketing Pvt. Ltd. and Giriasho Company Pvt. Ltd. participated in the bidding process of Sugar Mills of Uttar Pradesh Rajya Chini AvamGanna Vikas Nigam Limited (UPRCGVNL). The companies suppressed the shareholding pattern and background of key promoters which were the stipulated conditions at the time of bidding. It was also noticed during investigations that the funds were infused either into these companies through cash deposits made in shell companies’ bank accounts and further routed into these two companies through sham transactions or infusion of funds was disguised in the form of share application money for a subscription to shares of these two companies at a high premium.
For the purpose of registration and execution of sale deeds, the two companies, Giriasho Company Private Limited and Namrata Marketing Private Limited had purchased seven paper/shell companies, namely (i) Ablaze Sugar Mills Private Limited, (ii) Adarsha Sugar Solutions Private Limited (iii) Agile Sugar India Private Limited (iv) Eikon Sugar Mills Private Limited (v) Majesty Sugar Solutions Private Limited (vi) Mastiff Sugar Solution Private Limited and (vii) Okra Sugars Private Limited and treated them as their Special Purpose Vehicles (SPV). All these companies were incorporated on the same date in 2011.