The Enforcement Directorate on Friday grilled former Union minister Praful Patel for his links with Dawood Ibrahim's close aide Iqbal Mirchi in a money laundering case and also confronted him with the promoters and directors of the Housing Development and Infrastructure Ltd (HDIL), arrested in the Rs 4,335-crore Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative (PMC) Bank case.
According to senior ED officials, after questioning Patel for his links with the Mirchi's family over the alleged property deals in Mumbai, the financial probe agency brought Rakesh and Sarang Wadhawan to the office to face the NCP leader.
The Wadhawans were arrested on October 3 over money laundering charges. The development comes after the probe agency revealed that Patel, as the then Union Minister of Heavy Industry, was a frequent flier on Wadhawans' luxury private jet Bombardier Challenger 300.
According to the ED probe, the senior NCP leader had used the jets of Wadhawans from March to July in 2012. He had flown on the private jet once with Rakesh Wadhawan and Bollywood actress Preity Zinta in March 2012 from Mumbai to Delhi.
The ED official said the agency will ask Patel and Wadhawans about their relation with each other and their financial dealings.
Earlier in the day, the probe agency questioned the former Union Minister about his dealings with the family members of Mirchi in India. An agency source said officials asked Patel about who the promoters of Millennium Developers are, whether he ever meet Humayun Merchant or if he ever travelled to London during 2006-07.
The ED's questions were based on documents unearthed during the probe that showed that Millenium Developers, promoted by Patel and his wife Varsha, which developed 15-storey Ceejay House and then gave two floors to the family members of Mirchi in 2006-07.
The source further said that Patel was also asked if he met Mirchi or Humayun Merchant (a close aide of Mirchi) or spoke to him. The source pointed out that Patel was also asked about the court order that does not say the tenants should be handed over the property as claimed by him.
among other questions were: why was a tenancy agreement for the redeveloped project (CeeJay House) signed between Millennium Developers and Hazra Memon, first wife of Mirchi; what was the rent paid by Memon for the 14,000 square feet property and why was it well below the market rate?
The source said Patel was also asked if Mirchi through Merchant told him that he wanted two floors of the building and whether he was aware that Memon was wife of Mirchi.
On Tuesday, Patel had said that not a "single paisa worth property transaction" had taken place between Mirchi's family and him, and that the allegations were nothing but "speculation".
The probe agency earlier this week questioned Mirchi's brother-in-law Mukhtar Memon, who controls most of the properties in India.
On October 12, the ED also questioned two aides of Mirchi on their links with politicians and builders, who were allegedly involved in transaction of prime properties reportedly belonging to Dawood Ibrahim's D-company.