By Munish Chandra Pandey: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) conducted searches at 15 premises in Prayagraj today, leading to the seizure of a huge amount of cash, foreign currency, and documents related to nearly 200 bank accounts and 50 shell entities linked to jailed gangster Atiq Ahmed.
The searches led to the seizure of Rs 75 lakh in Indian and foreign currency, suspected to be the proceeds of the criminal activities of Atiq Ahmed and his associates.
During the searches, documents related to over 100 properties allegedly owned by Atiq Ahmed’s close associates and firms were found. These properties are suspected to be benami properties of the gangster. The ED officials have also unearthed cash transactions worth more than 50 crore in the searches.
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The documents seized during the operation suggest that the cash and properties were generated through criminal activities such as extortion, land grabbing, and other illegal means. Documents of properties that were purchased forcibly from farmers through criminal intimidation have also been found.
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The people searched by the ED include Atiq Ahmed’s relative Khalid Zafar, his advocate and accomplice Saulat Hanif Khan, his associates Asad, Vadood Ahmad, Kali, Mohsin, CA Sabeeh Ahmad, CA Asif Jafri, Seetaram Shukla (accountant), and real estate developers Sanjeev Aggarwal and Deepak Bhargav.
Last month, a court in Prayagraj sentenced Atiq Ahmed, Hanif and Dinesh Pasi to life imprisonment in connection with the murder of Umesh Pal, the prime witness in the murder of BSP MLA Raju Pal.