ED to grill 3 UP leaders in money laundering cases

Samajwadi Azam Khan party MP, Ansari gangster and strongman Ahmad on the list

Execution Directorate (ED) to begin questioning MP Samajwadi Azam Khan, gangster Mukhtar Ansari and strongman Ateeq Ahmad in separate money laundering cases against them and their associates . The three defendants are from Uttar Pradesh and are in judicial custody in separate criminal cases.

The ED is initiating the action after obtaining authorization from the special courts competent in matters falling under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), sources said.

“Khan, 72, held in Sitapur District Prison in Uttar Pradesh, will be questioned and his statement recorded between September 20 and 24,” an official said.

Likewise, Ansari, 58, lawmaker from Mau’s headquarters Bahujan Samaj (BSP) party, will be questioned at Banda District Prison in PMLA-ruled state after a court in August authorized the general manager to register his declaration.

Following an order allowing the ED to question Ahmad, 59, who is being held in Sabarmati prison in Gujarat under judicial custody, the agency will record his statement separately.

The agency has filed separate PMLA files against them and after their questioning, the ED is likely to seize their assets under the criminal provisions of the PMLA.

The ED launched a PMLA investigation against Khan in 2019 after learning of at least 26 FIRs filed by state police against him, including allegations that a university run by him in Rampur district of Uttar Pradesh was erected on land that was seized from “enemy property”.

Khan was the Minister of Urban Development in the SP government under the leadership of Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.

The ED is investigating Ansari in at least 49 criminal cases against him, including land grabbing, murder and extortion. Ahmad, a former MP, was previously associated with political parties including the Samajwadi party and the Apna Dal (Sonewal faction). His role in money laundering is examined by the ED on the basis of 196 FIRs filed against him by various Uttar Pradesh police stations for murder, extortion and land grabbing.

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