In its first official reaction to Republic’s exposé on the operations of the Dawood Ibrahim gang, the Nationalist Congress Party asserted that its leaders were ready for a probe. Speaking exclusively to Republic, NCP leader DP Tripathi admitted that Ibrahim’s mafia was influential in Mumbai. However, he vociferously defended senior leader Praful Patel, whose alleged links with Ibrahim aide Iqbal Mirchi have surfaced. Tripathi also indirectly questioned the veracity of the documents.
He remarked, “There is no doubt that Dawood Ibrahim has had an impact. This mafia has an influence in Mumbai. But, regarding the question you asked about Praful Patel, Praful Bhai has denied it. Holding a press conference, he said that he has no connection with Iqbal Mirchi and all this. They are not involved in any property deal of his. He has no deal with them. He has said this categorically. So now whoever he is talking about the so-called documents, they should bring them to light. They will be probed. The ED should find out about this. We are ready for an investigation. Praful Patel reached the ED office before time. You ask what you want to ask. We are ready to tell everything.”
On Friday, Republic uncovered the D-gang's control over the property market in Mumbai. In the sting operation, Mumbai based builder Jayant Soni narrated how he embarked upon a deal over a property owned by a trust linked to Mirchi. According to Soni, Mirchi asked him to “get out” of the deal when a company named Sunblink entered the fray. This was despite the fact that Soni had already signed the Memorandum of Understanding. Incidentally, Sunblink is being probed by the ED over a loan in excess of Rs.2100 crore given to it by a Non-Banking Financial Company.
Earlier, Republic accessed a document bearing the alleged signature of Patel and Ibrahim gang member Mirchi. It clearly shows the name Praful Manoharbhai Patel besides that of Asif Iqbal Memon, Hajra Iqbal Memon, and Junaid Iqbal Memon, linked to Iqbal Mirchi’s family. It unmasks the alleged link between the NCP leader and Mirchi's deal on part of the Ceejay House property of Millenium Developers in Worli, Mumbai. Patel’s troubles compounded further as some documents emerged indicating a link between him and the promoters of the HDIL, Rakesh and Sarang Wadhawan. Apparently, the NCP leader used the private jet of the Wadhawans 8 times between February to May 2012. They are currently in police custody, having been accused of involvement in the PMC bank scam.