ED opposes bail for Mirchi's aide in money laundering case

The Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday opposed a bail plea of Humayun Merchant, arrested in connection with a money-laundering case involving gangster Iqbal Mirchi, saying the matter has "international ramifications".

In its written reply filed before special judge P Rajvaidya, the ED said the accused played a "very crucial role" in laundering of huge amounts of crime proceeds.

Merchant may hamper the probe if released on bail, it said, adding he was aware of the "line of probe" and might tip off other suspects who are at large.

The case was sensitive, involving money generated from organised crime, and its suspected use for terror financing and narcotic trade was under investigation, the agency said.

"The case appears to have international ramifications as well," it added.

Mirchi, who died in London in 2013, was an aide of fugitive gangster Dawood Ibrahim.

Merchant, Mirchi's alleged associate, was arrested in October under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in connection with the ED's probe into illegal real estate deals of Mirchi.

The probe focuses on Mirchi's purchase of three properties of Sir Mohammad Yusuf Trust in Worli area here in September 1986 for Rs 6.5 lakh through his Rockside Enterprise.

Besides Merchant, ED has arrested three other persons in connection with the case.