Enforcement Directorate on Monday, June 22, conducted searches at multiple locations in and around the metropolis in connection with two cases registered against former Maharashtra PWD minister Chhagan Bhujbal.
“We are conducting searches at multiple locations of those persons who are connected to the cases,” said an ED official. “The searches will continue throughout the day,” the official said refusing to name the persons whose premises are being searched.
Last week, the ED had registered two Enforcement Case Information Reports (ECIRs) under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against the NCP leader suspecting illegal transactions to the tune of Rs 900 crore in all. It had also summoned four individuals of a Singapore-based firm in which Bhujbal’s company Armstrong Energy has invested.
The first case by ED pertains to irregularities and receiving of kickbacks in the Maharashtra Sadan scam and Kalina land allotment case.
The second case relates to a housing project at Navi Mumbai called ‘Hex World’. Its developer had allegedly collected 10 per cent of the flat’s total cost as booking amount in 2010 but started no work. Promoted by a realty company owned by the Bhujbal family, the project had 2,300 people who had already booked houses.
The Navi Mumbai Police, on June 13, had booked Bhujbal in the case after a group of 25-30 people, waiting for the housing project to take off for four years, had approached the court over the delay in its construction.
Earlier, ACB searched seven properties in Mumbai, two in Thane, five in Nashik and two in Pune to ascertain the assets owned by Bhujbal, his MLA-son Pankaj and nephew Sam.
In a related development on June 18, the Bombay High Court also directed the Maharashtra ACB to complete its investigation into corruption charges against Bhujbal, and submit the final report within two months.
It has directed the ACB to submit an interim report by July 22 and the final one by August 19.
The HC had on December 18, 2014, directed setting up of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) comprising ACB and ED to probe 11 allegations of irregularities relating to money laundering by private firms run by Bhujbal and his relatives.