ED searches DHFL premises over exposure to firm linked to Iqbal Mirchi

Widening its probe into illegal property dealings, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Saturday conducted searches on Dewan Housing Finance (DHFL) premises in connection with its exposure to real estate firm Sunblink Developers, which is under the agency’s lens for its property dealings with late gangster Iqbal Memon.

An ED official said searches had been carried out since morning at seven to eight locations in Mumbai, including offices and residences of some of the directors of the company. Searches would continue for two more days, he added. Searches were also carried out on Mumbai-based Dheeraj Realty. Its promoter Dheeraj Wadhawan has been questioned by the probe agency.

A text message to DHFL regarding searches remained unanswered. The ED is probing several property deals involving Iqbal Mirchi, Sir Mohamed Yusuf Trust, and Millennium Developers, controlled by Nationalist Congress Party member and former Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel. He was questioned by the ED on Friday on these property dealings and confronted with certain phone call details, purportedly showing connection between him and Memon. 

Patel is likely to be grilled again by the enforcement agency. Sources said the ED is examining the financial ties between the non-banking finance company and the Sunblink Developers, which had allegedly played a key role in diverting money for Memon.

Investigations revealed that Sunblink had brought three properties from Memon valued Rs 225 crore in 2010. DHFL on Friday clarified its exposure to Sunblink Developers to stock exchanges, saying that it had in the normal course of business funded certain projects of various companies in and around Mumbai.

“Due to market conditions, the borrowers had streamlined their internal operations whereby they have, by certain corporate actions undertaken recently, merged certain of their companies into Sunblink. As a result, as on date, Sunblink is mentioned as a borrower,” it said.

The exposure of the NBFC came to light when the enforcement agency had arrested Iqbal Memon alias Iqbal Mirchi’s close aides — the former chairman of Sir Mohamed Yusuf Trust, Haroun Yusuf, and real estate broker Bindra last week.

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