Canada-based makers of BlackBerry smartphone have confirmed the authenticity of messages exchanged through its secured network between controversial meat exporter Moin Qureshi and several influential persons in India, the ED has informed a special court.
Canada-based makers of BlackBerry smartphone have confirmed the authenticity of messages exchanged through its secured network between controversial meat exporter Moin Qureshi and several influential persons in India, the ED has informed a special court. The central probe agency has said that the “analysis of BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) messages retrieved from the mobile phones of Qureshi and his associates revealed that hawala operators were also used to transfer bribe money (belonging to government officials) to different foreign locations like Paris (France) and the UK”. Officials privy to the probe said the agency got the authentication done by the Canada-based headquarters of the BlackBerry as BBM exchanges are the most “incriminating piece of evidence” in this case. The anti-money laundering court was informed about this when Qureshi was produced before it by the ED for custody, they said.
The meat exporter and others involved in the case are being questioned based on the leads provided by these messages, they said. Qureshi was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on August 25 under sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The meat exporter is still in the ED’s custody. He was questioned multiple times in the past by the agency before his arrest. The ED has registered two FIRs against him under the anti-money laundering law. In the latest FIR against him this year, former CBI Director A P Singh has also been named.
The ED had said in a statement that its probe revealed facts which “constitute omission and commission of certain acts on the part of certain public servants holding high positions in public office in collusion with Qureshi”. It said huge amount of illegal money was found to have been transacted. The records collected by the ED from the Income Tax (I-T) Department in the form of BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) messages “revealed that Qureshi has taken huge amount of money from different persons for obtaining undue favours from public servants after exercising his personal influence”, it had said. BBM messages were exchanged between Qureshi and accused involved in other criminal cases, and also the people who wanted to seek undue favours from other investigating agencies of government, the statement said.
There were also BBM exchanges between Qureshi and former CBI chief Singh that were being looked at both by the ED and the CBI as part of their separate criminal investigations. The ED said, Qureshi “obtained huge amount of money and it was obtained in the name of government servants/political persons holding public office and the said public servants illegally either obtained the money themselves or through their kin.”
The meat exporter is facing separate probes by the I-T Department and the CBI for alleged tax evasion, money laundering and corruption among others. The I-T Department is probing Qureshi under the new Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act, 2015 as probe led it to some foreign assets owned or held by the meat exporter and his family, allegedly in an illegal manner, as they were not declared or reported to Indian tax authorities.
The case came to light after the tax department first carried out searches against Qureshi and his firm in February, 2014.