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ED arrests Chhagan Bhujbal in money laundering case

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Held under PMLA, officer finds him ‘uncooperative’ after 10 hours of questioning

Senior NCP leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal was on Monday arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in a money laundering case related to new Maharashtra Sadan in New Delhi. The arrest, under Section 19 (1) of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, came after more than ten hours of sustained questioning.

“There were clear indications of the money being routed through companies belonging to the family and other facts pointed to his involvement. However, despite more than ten hours of questioning, he was not at all cooperating with the investigations. The need for custodial interrogation was hence felt,” a source told The Hindu.

The ED has for over a year been investigating the routing of money allegedly received as kickbacks in exchange for awarding choice government construction projects to select contractors through companies owned by the family. The companies are owned by Mr. Bhujbal’s son Pankaj and nephew Sameer, who is already under arrest.

Mr. Bhujbal reached the ED office around 11.30 a.m., accompanied by a large group of party workers and supporters. The Bhujbal family has been under the scanner since early last year, first by the Maharashtra Anti-Corruption Bureau and then the ED.

Reacting to the arrest, Aam Aadmi Party leader Anjali Damania, who had filed a public interest litigation petition in the Bombay High Court which led to the setting up of a Special Investigation Team, said she was happy.

“Time and again the court reprimanded the BJP-controlled ACB to act but it continued in the ‘go-slow’ mode. Finally, the ED acted on the court’s directive and first arrested Sameer Bhujbal and now Chhagan Bhujbal,” AAP spokesperson Preeti Sharma Menon said.

BJP MP Kirit Somaiya tweeted, “At last #ChhaganBhujbal has been arrested. Now it is turn of #IrrigationScam #AjitPawar and #SunilTatkare to follow Bhujbal.”

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Printable version | Jun 22, 2017 12:48:19 PM | http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/enforcement-directorate-arrests-senior-ncp-leader-chhagan-bhujbal/article8352954.ece