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CBI books ex-chief for favouring meat exporter Moin Qureshi

NEW DELHI, Feb 20: In a first, CBI today carried out searches at the residence of its former chief Amar Pratap Singh after registering an FIR against him for allegedly favouring controversial meat exporter Moin Qureshi.

CBI sources said a case has been registered against Singh, Qureshi, his employee Aditya Sharma, owner of Trimax group of companies Pradeep Koneru and other unknown persons.

They said the agency conducted searches in four cities– New Delhi, Ghaziabad, Chennai and Hyderabad.

Qureshi has been accused of accepting money from several people for securing favours from public servants.

The FIR was lodged on a complaint from the Enforcement Directorate, the country’s anti-money laundering probe agency.

The premises searched included those of an employee of Qureshi, his company, Singh’s residence and that of Pradeep Koneru in Hyderabad. Koneru is also being probed by the CBI in connection with the disproportionate assets case against YSR Congress leader Jagan Mohan Reddy.

Singh, a 1974-batch IPS officer, headed the agency between November 30, 2010 and November 30, 2012.

The CBI has based its FIR on the complaint forwarded by the Enforcement Directorate chief Karnal Singh, who alleged that in the course of investigation in a Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) case against AMQ Group of companies owned by Qureshi, it transpired that the businessman was acting as a middleman for some public servants.

In his letter, the ED chief attached records of Blackberry chat messages exchanged between Singh and Qureshi to allege that cognizable offences were committed by the two in collusion with each other.

ED Assistant Director Arun Kumar, whose complaint was also attached with Singh’s letter, alleged that Qureshi took “huge money” from different persons for obtaining undue favours from public servants and politicians holding high offices.

The ED has appended 22 BBM messages which were exchanged between AP Singh and Moin Qureshi even after the retirement of the IPS officer.

Only three messages, in addition to 22, were allegedly exchanged between Singh and Qureshi when the former was the CBI Director, according to the ED.

The message listed by Enforcement Directorate, during Singh’s tenure as CBI Chief,  in its complaint are as follows:

In one of the messages when Singh was still the CBI chief, Qureshi wrote to him on October 3, 2012, “Sir, the petition I gave you last nite (sic) please help TS Narayansami ex-Chairman Bank of India who is known to our family for 30 years. Others I don’t know. Thanks and regards. (sic)”

Singh, responded after seven hours, writing, “Checked. Charge sheet already filed. Now he has to approach courts for relief.”

Qureshi, replied, “OK Sir. Thanks and Regards”.

CBI has booked Singh, Qureshi and others under sections related to criminal conspiracy and provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act.

The ED has also attached with its complaint 18 BBM messages allegedly exchanged between Moin and Raghini Brar, daughter of Singh.

The messages have some figures giving the impression that those were related to transactions in Indian currency. However, it is not clear if the money exchanged hands and, if yes, for what purposes.

“The data record including BBM messages obtained from Income Tax contain various nefarious transactions indicating therein that Qureshi has been liaisoning and obtaining illegal money from various public persons for getting their work done, through public servants.

“Besides, these public servants have also obtained illegal gratification/pecuniary gain either themselves or by their relatives,” it alleged.

The ED has alleged that Qureshi, through a company named India Premier Services Pvt Limited, applied for obtaining a concession agreement from Delhi International Airport Limited for running lounge services at Terminal three.

The BBM messages and intercepts indicate that some Government servants were “in close touch” with him with some of them providing information, while some others were persuading officers “in malafide way” to give permission which was hard to come by after adverse observations by the Intelligence Bureau, the ED has alleged.

The ED claimed it also intercepted conversations and BBM messages between Qureshi and accused in various cases seeking undue favours from the Government.

The anti-money laundering agency claimed it was evident that he was able to get “undue relief” for such accused in the cases being probed by investigating agencies and others seeking favours. Qureshi was also alleged to have obtained “huge amount of money” for the work done.

The ED claimed that the money was taken in the name of Government servants and politicians who received it either themselves or through relatives and friends.

It gave a list of seven properties belonging to Qureshi in London (2), Dubai (3), New York and Singapore which were not declared in his Income Tax returns.

The ED alleged Qureshi used his ill-gotten wealth to acquire properties outside India. (PTI)

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