Controversial Delhi-based meat exporter Moin Qureshi was detained on Saturday at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi in a money laundering case but managed to give immigration authorities the slip and flew to Dubai after showing a court order in an income tax case, leaving officials red faced. 

An inquiry has been ordered by the immigration authorities into the gaffe. 

Qureshi was detained based on a Look Out Circular (LOC) issued by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a money laundering case against him. As the immigration department informed the ED about his detention, Qureshi presented a court order in which there was no restriction on his flying abroad. The immigration officer checked for the veracity of the court order and allowed him to fly to Dubai. 

b’Source: Reuters/Representational Image’

As the ED team reached the airport to take the meat exporter into custody, they were informed that he had been allowed to fly on the basis of a court order. However, the immigration officer realised that the order was in connection with an Income Tax case and not in the ED case, prompting the authorities to order an inquiry.

According to airport officials, Qureshi told authorities that he has furnished a bond and got the court’s nod to travel abroad even as he got a fax sent in this regard from his legal team to the airport.

“We have sought documents from immigration authorities based on which Qureshi was allowed to travel. Our officials were on the spot to take his custody but he was allowed to fly abroad,” ED sources said. It is understood that the agency wanted to question Qureshi and had issued summons to him but could lay its hands on him.

b’Representational Image | Source: PTI/File Photo’

The agency had registered a case against Qureshi under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) last year. He is under the scanner of probe agencies for alleged tax evasion and hawala-like dealings. The agency had slapped fresh charges under PMLA after taking cognisance of the I-T department’s charge sheet (also called prosecution complaint) against Qureshi in alleged tax evasion case in a local court last year.

The ED had earlier been probing this case under forex violation laws after the I-T department first shared documents indicating hawala and alleged contravention of forex laws by the businessman and his business entities based here. It had alleged that Qureshi has sent “huge amount of funds” through the hawala route to Dubai, London and few other overseas destinations in Europe.

The agency early last year had also conducted searches on Qureshi’s premises and had questioned him. The Income Tax department, during its probe, had found Qureshi had 11 bank lockers which were in the names of his employees and associates but the articles belonged to the businessman 

Feature image source: India TV/Twitter