Mumbai

Sameer Bhujbal in ED custody till Feb 8

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A day after his arrest, the Enforcement Directorate on Tuesday produced Sameer Bhujbal, NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal’s nephew, at the city civil and sessions court, which remanded him in custody till February 8.

Mr Bhujbal, 42, was questioned for nine hours at the Ballard Pier office of Enforcement Directorate, even as ED teams simultaneously conducted searches at nearly a dozen premises linked to the Bhujbal family. He was arrested late on Monday night in a case of money laundering, siphoning of funds and causing a loss to government exchequer. He

On Tuesday, ED’s lawyer Hiten Venegavkar, informed Judge PR Bhavke said that as per the High Court orders in a public interest litigation filed by Aam Aadmi Party, a special investigation team was constituted comprising Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) Mumbai and ED to look into allegations against Mr Bhujbal , his son Pankaj, nephew Sameer, other family members and employees.

The remand application states that Mr Bhujbal has been booked under Sections 406 (punishment for criminal breach of trust), 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant, or by banker, merchant or agent), 465 (Punishment for forgery) Indian Penal Code, Section 13 (1) (criminal misconduct by a public servant) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, and relevant sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and Maharashtra Ownership of Flats Act.

Mr Venegavkar said as per FIRs registered by the ACB and ED, there has been a loss of approximately Rs 840 crore to the exchequer. The remand application states that the agency had obtained several records and documents during its probe. In his deposition before ED, Sunil Naik, the Chartered Accountant of Mumbai Educational Trust, had said that shares of firms like Parvesh Constructions and Armstrong Energy, owned and controlled by the Bhujbal family, were sold to dubious entities against cash at an unrealistic high premium of Rs 990 per share against the share value of Rs 100 and funds to the tune of Rs 75 and Rs 50 crores were funnelled using this method, the remand application said.

Mr Venegavkar said that Mr Bhujbal has not cooperated with the agency and did not appear before it despite three summons. He said that Mr Bhujbal had a role in the alleged siphoning of funds in the construction of Maharashtra Sadan, RTO Project in Andheri, Mumbai-Nashik toll, Kalina Library, MIG Colony, illegal construction at MHADA land at Kharghar and land scam at Nashik.

He said of the Rs 840 crore, around 114 crores have been recovered and that considering the seriousness of allegations and money deposited in private bank accounts, a case has been made out.

While seeking Mr Bhujbal’s remand for eight days, he said 50 per cent of investigation has been done and as per directions from HC, ED has to submit progress report of their investigations every four weeks.

Representing Mr Bhujbal, advocate Pranav Bhadheka, said his client had co-operated with the agency and had sought time to produce documents they required, but the agency carried out searches and arrested him. The judge granted six-day custody to ED and adjourned the matter till February 8.

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Printable version | Dec 10, 2019 5:42:19 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/sameer-bhujbal-in-ed-custody-till-feb-8/article8186842.ece

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