In fresh trouble for SP leader Azam Khan, the ED has initiated a money laundering probe following allegations that a university run by him in Uttar Pradesh's Rampur district has been built over a land taken in violation of the enemy property law, official sources said on Friday.
Enemy properties are the immovable assets left behind by people who migrated to Pakistan since the Partition and to China after the 1962 Sino-Indian war. According to data, there are about 9,280 such properties left behind by Pakistani nationals and 126 by Chinese nationals. These are regulated under the Enemy Property Act.
Khan, a Lok Sabha MP from Rampur and a former state cabinet minister under Akhilesh Yadav's rule, has already been booked by the central probe agency under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), based on at least 26 criminal FIRs filed by the local police on charges of land grab and extortion.
The university under the ED scanner is the Mohammad Ali Jauhar University which was established in 2006 with Khan as its founder and chancellor. The university is said to have over 3,000 students enrolled and is spread over an area of 121 hectares.
According to sources, if charges of land grab and violation of the Enemy Property Act are found to be true, the university campus could be soon attached by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) under the stringent provisions of the anti-money laundering law.
Sources in the Rampur district administration said they have received official queries from the ED's zonal office in Lucknow in this regard seeking all documents that were submitted wile requesting permission to set up the university.
They said the ED has also summoned 25 entities, over the next week, who had complained that the university, its officials and main promoter Azam Khan had flouted the Enemy Property Act to grab land and project it as a Waqf property to set up the university.
The district magistrate or the collector is the deputy custodian of an 'enemy property' in a district. The 'enemy property' in this case is located in Singan Khera Tehsil of the Rampur district and it belongs to Pakistani national Imamuddin Qureshi.
The ED, sources said, has also launched a parallel probe under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) into this instance and is looking into the approvals, mutation of land and funds sourced by the university to allegedly grab the 'enemy property' land in an illegal manner in purported connivance of government officials.
The central probe agency has recently also written to the higher education department of the Uttar Pradesh government to share all documents related to approvals and sanctions given to the university, to take forward its criminal probe under PMLA and FEMA.
This query also prompted the Rampur district administration to register an FIR into this alleged illegal deal on Thursday.
The Naib Tehsildar has stated in his complaint that the entire deal to categorise an 'enemy prorerty' land as a waqf property and its allocation to the Mohammad Ali Jauhar University was done in alleged connivance of government staff in order to benefit the university and Khan.
Khan, the registrar of the university, the Waqf board Imam and the then official of the Rampur municipal corporation S M Tariq have been named in the FIR. Khan's name was also put on an online list of "land mafias" by the district administration recently.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)