New Delhi: An alumnus of Dehradun’s Doon School and later, Delhi’s St. Stephen’s College, Moin Akhtar Qureshi started small. In 1993, he started a slaughter house in Uttar Pradesh’s Rampur. The business fared moderately. But by 2010, thanks to the networks from his alma maters, Qureshi had gone on to become India’s largest meat exporter and tax evader, specializing not just in meat trade, but a web of hawala channels in Dubai, London and Europe.

Starting 2011, Qureshi became a benefactor for several public servants, including two former Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) chiefs. From babus to access to files, Qureshi knew the ins and outs of not just India’s top investigation agency, but the bureaucracy as well. Yet, it was not until halfway through the united progressive alliance-II (UPA-II) government’s rule that the Income Tax (IT) department and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) sniffed out oddities in Qureshi’s operations.

Senior Central government officials claim that Qureshi was being protected by the “Congress top brass."

Meanwhile, as his web of hawala transactions multiplied, Qureshi began setting up an alibi – his daughter Pernia Qureshi and wife Nasreen Qureshi. It was through their accounts, that Qureshi began transferring funds through shell companies and making payments to high end luxury designer brands in Europe. These payments—investigations revealed—were in fact made to procure “gifts" for public servants in India, from whom Qureshi had been exacting a string of favours.

A series of investigations by the IT department and the CBI eventually led to a chain of text messages between CBI chiefs—Ranjit Sinha and A.P Singh—two people who were later accused of misusing their office to aid Qureshi. While Ranjit Sinha was booked by the CBI, AP Singh, was forced to step down as a member of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), in 2014. Both of them denied the charges against them.

Four years later, Qureshi—who is now been granted bail—is close to potentially bringing down another CBI director. The next two weeks will now decide whether Asthana or Verma will be dragged down by the man from Rampur.

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