A section of the old boys’ network of the Doon School in Dehradun and “influential friends” from the elite St Stephen’s College here are actively working to save meat exporter Moin Qureshi from the clutches of the Enforcement Directorate (ED), sources in the agency have said. Qureshi, now in ED custody, was president of the Doon School Old Boys’ Society (DSOBS) and resigned from his position in the wake of income tax raids against him in 2014. Qureshi, an alumnus of both Doon School and St Stephen’s College, was arrested by the ED on 25 August this year in connection with alleged money laundering of around Rs 200 crore. Since 2015, Qureshi is facing charges of money laundering under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002. “Qureshi, who is known for his network in bureaucratic and political circles, is not leaving any stones unturned to try and influence investigative agencies, including, the ED, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Income Tax (I-T) Department. However, ED officials involved in the probe are doing their best to stop him from escaping from ED net,” an ED source close to the investigation told The Sunday Guardian.
A senior ED official said: “Qureshi’s political and bureaucratic network is still working for him and most of his friends from his school days, mainly lawyers, are even trying to halt the investigation going on outside the country to unearth the undisclosed property owned by Qureshi and his wife in foreign countries.” The ED source quoted above said: “The cases against Qureshi were twisted and turned during the second term of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government and that is proving to be beneficial for Qureshi. Recent ED investigations have revealed how Qureshi was saved from any action due to his proximity to politicians and several bureaucrats.” According to the ED, through the money he earned from liaison work and hawala, Qureshi allegedly managed to own properties in Mayfair in London, Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai, the Solow Building in New York, Suntec Tower in Singapore, Dubai Marina and the Burj Al-Khalifa in Dubai. These properties have not been declared in his income tax returns.
“If needed, Qureshi will also be booked under the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015,” the ED source confirmed. Qureshi’s Doon School connection was revealed when the CBI registered an FIR against former CBI director A.P. Singh, a Doon School alumnus, for allegedly providing undue favours to Qureshi. Singh is also under the ED’s scanner and is facing a probe. Investigations by the ED and CBI have revealed that it wasn’t just Singh who had close ties with Qureshi; even Singh’s successor Ranjit Sinha had met Qureshi on several occasions.
“The BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) message communication between Qureshi and Singh shows that they were in touch with each other to influence top UPA politicians, including two former Union ministers. Qureshi and Singh also tried to influence top intelligence officials for getting certain clearances. However, Qureshi was silent and did not speak much about his relationship with both the former Union ministers during his recent custodial investigation done last month,” the ED source said.