Mumbai: Enforcement Directorate (ED) today attached assets worth Rs 110 crore belonging to a realty firm in connection with its money laundering probe against NCP leader and former Maharashtra PWD minister Chhagan Bhujbal. The two land properties, with a market value of Rs 110 crore, are located in the posh Bandra and adjoining areas of the western metropolis here and are in the name of Pravesh Constructions – a firm run by the Bhujbals.
“The order for attachment of the assets has been issued under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The agency will soon move to take possession of these assets whose book value is Rs 26 crore,” agency said in a statement.
But the market value of the assets is 110 crore, it said. This is the third such action in this case by the ED after it had attached a plot worth Rs 160 crore of a realty firm and seized over Rs 17 crore assets of another firm embroiled in this case.
ED has been probing the case under PMLA based on a Mumbai police FIR. Aggrieved parties can appeal against the latest order of the agency before the Adjudicating Authority of the PMLA within 120 days.
An attachment order under anti-money laundering laws is aimed to deprive the accused from obtaining benefits from the tainted assets under probe. Government, in the current Parliament session, had recently said that money laundering investigations against Bhujbal and others have revealed that entities which have subscribed to companies controlled by the politician’s family were “dubious” and their transactions were done only on paper.
Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha, in a written reply in Lok Sabha on December 18, said a case has been registered by the ED against Bhujbal, his family members including MLA son Pankaj, ex-MP nephew Samir, a firm called Ms K S Chamankar Enterprises and others.
“Investigation conducted so far has revealed that the entities which have subscribed to the companies controlled by Bhujbals were dubious companies which existed only on paper and their transactions are not genuine transactions,” he had said.
Seven properties worth Rs 17.35 crore belonging to family members of Chamankar have been “provisionally attached” and land measuring 95,780 sq metres of Ms Devisha Infrastructure Limited at Village Rohinjan in Raigad district of the state, worth Rs 84.90 crore has also been provisionally attached, Sinha had said.
The Bombay High Court, on December 18 last year, had constituted a Special Investigation Team comprising the ED Director and the Director General of state Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to conduct the inquiry against the politician and others and submit a report to it.
The Mumbai police complaint names Pankaj and Samir and they had been booked under IPC Sections related to cheating, criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust and relevant provisions of Maharashtra Ownership Flats Act.