Zee Media Bureau/Ritesh K Srivastava
New Delhi: Kanpur-based meat exporter Moin Akhtar Qureshi, who has managed to stay away from limelight, is alleged to be having close links with the country`s apex investigating agency - the CBI – which has helped his business flourish by leaps and bounds.
A Zee Media expose claimed on Wednesday that CBI Director Ranjit Sinha is currently probing the extent of Qureshi`s relationship with the investigating agency`s former and present top officials.
Sinha has reportedly written a letter to the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) chief RK Tiwari to provide all evidence regarding Qureshi, who is also being probed for suspected tax evasion.
The Kanpur-based businessman is also under the Income Tax Department scanner and the tax sleuths have also roped in Enforcement Directorate to probe his alleged role in money laundering cases.
The I-T department, which began tracking Qureshi`s phone calls since December, claims to have 500 hours of telephonic transcripts of the Kanpur businessman which allegedly show his links with former CBI Director A P Singh.
Sinha wrote a `secret` letter to CBDT chairman asking him to provide evidence against any CBI officer, present or past, so that the same could be analysed and action taken. The I-T department is already probing Moin Qureshi for tax evasion to the tune of Rs 157 crore. But with the CBI also taking up this case now, the scope of probe has just got wider.
Sources claim that former CBI director AP Singh had introduced Qureshi to the elite social circles of New Delhi. The I-T authorities are also probing whether Qureshi had any link to a heavy cash transaction between Dubai and London. The tax officials had in recent past conducted several raids at various premises being linked to Qureshi during which Rs 20 cr cash and jewellery was seized.
The I-T Department is expected to submit a detailed report about its investigation against Qureshi to the new NDA government led by Narendra Modi at the Centre soon.
Modi had attacked Qureshi while addressing an election rally in Akbarpur on April 18 and said, “Shouldn’t the truth come out?” Eight days later, Modi escalated his attack and alleged that conversations of persons who had “close links” with 10 Janpath, the residence of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, figured in the telephone calls intercepted by the I-T department. The BJP leader alleged that Qureshi has strong ties with 10 Janpath and senior Congress leaders, including Kapil Sibal.
57-year-old Qureshi got into business through a small abattoir in Rampur in Uttar Pradesh in 1993 and went on to expand his business through his contacts with high-profile persons.
Qureshi’s daughter Pernia is married to London-based chartered accountant Ajith Prasad’s son Arjun, a close relative of former Union Minister of State Jitin Prasada.
A Doon school alumnus and president of its old boys’ society, Qureshi is known to have started 25 companies since 1993, with AMQ Agro, which exports animal gut, being the flagship firm. Filings with the Registrar of Companies show that seven of his companies deal in real estate and have non-descript activities with a low paid-up capital base. He is also into construction, among others, and daughter Pernia runs a fashion store.
Qureshi is also alleged to have had close contacts with the controversial liquor baron, late Ponty Chaddha, since 1995. However, he is said to have fallen out of favour with Chaddha’s son Monty after Ponty’s death in 2012.
Qureshi’s first brush with controversy happened during Pernia’s wedding in February 2011. He had flown in celebrated Pakistani Sufi singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan to entertain his guests and Khan was arrested at the airport on his way back by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence for allegedly not disclosing that he was taking out US dollars amounting to Rs 56 lakh in cash. It was subsequently found that Khan allegedly took his fees in cash.