More problems seem to be in store for Samajwadi Party leader Mohammad Azam Khan as after the crackdown by Uttar Pradesh Police on his alleged unlawful activities, now the sleuths of the Enforcement Directorate have tightened their nose around him in a money laundering case.
A two-member team of the ED sleuths went to Sitapur jail on Monday and quizzed Azam Khan in connection with the charges made against him. The ED sleuths also made a move to grill the former minister in the SP government after procuring prior approval of the court.
The details of the interrogation have not been disclosed by the ED but sources said that they would soon chargesheet the SP leader in the money laundering case already registered by the ED.
Sources said that on Monday, the ED team reached the district jail around 1:35 pm to interrogate the SP MP. Shortly before the ED team reached the Sitapur jail, Azam Khan’s wife Tazeen Fatma reached the district jail to meet her husband and son. The jail administration was also waiting for the arrival of the ED team but Fatma reached the jail premises before it could arrive. She was accompanied by former MLA of Laharpur, Jasmir Ansari.
Tazeen Fatma, following the rules of the prison, put the slip first and registered her name in the register of visitors. After this she went inside the jail to meet her husband and son.
Socialist leader Azam Khan is accused of grabbing farmers' land. According to information, Azam Khan took the lands of farmers by flouting rules. After this some farmers complained to the UP Governor. It is alleged that the land was acquired in the name of Jauhar University, the dream project of Azam Khan. Many of those lands are government and government money was used to build the university. So far, more than 100 cases have been registered against Azam Khan. At the same time, cases are also registered against his son Abdullah. The cases are being heard in different courts of Uttar Pradesh and both have been lodged in Sitapur Jail for a long time.
Recently, when Azam Khan's health deteriorated, he was shifted to Medanta Hospital in Lucknow. However, he was sent back to jail after his health improved. In December last year, Azam Khan's wife Tazeen Fatma secured bail and came out of jail.
Besides Azam Khan, the ED would also soon grill don-turned-politicians Mukhtar Ansari and Atiq Ahmed who are lodged in separate jails. The Enforcement Directorate had earlier registered a case against these leaders in a money laundering case. Now the ED has got permission from the court to interrogate them by taking them in custody.
After quizzing Azam Khan, the ED team can soon interrogate Mukhtar and Atiq. It may be mentioned that the Enforcement Directorate had registered a case of money laundering on July 1 against Mukhtar Ansari, who is lodged in Banda Jail.
It is alleged that Mukhtar Ansari illegally occupied a government land and rented it out to a private company for seven years at the rate of Rs 1.7 crore per annum. The ED will conduct its inquiry into this amount and possession.
The ED had also filed a money laundering case against Atiq Ahmed. It is alleged that last year, the police had identified 16 companies of Atiq, many of which were benami. In these companies, the names are of others but indirectly money has been invested in them. The business of most of these companies is related to real estate. It is also learned that the transactions of these companies are in crores.
Police officers had said that out of the 16 companies about which information had been received, three companies were registered in the name of Atiq's wife Saista Parveen and five in the name of relatives. There are eight companies about which it is not clear who owns them.