Mumbai: Chhagan Bhujbal’s son and nephew, Pankaj and Sameer seek discharge in money laundering case

Pankaj Bhujbal, Sameer Bhujbal and Chhagan Bhujbal and 51 others were charged by Enforcement Directorate in 2016 for various offences, including the alleged Maharashtra Sadan scam.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Thursday, September 15, 2022, 11:39 PM IST
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Chhagan Bhujbal | Twitter/@ChhaganCBhujbal

approached a special court on Thursday seeking to drop proceedings against them in a money laundering case for want of a scheduled offence.

They moved the plea following a recent Supreme Court ruling that the accused cannot be charged under the Prevention of Money Laundering (PMLA) Act if the scheduled offence does not exist.

According to the provisions of the PMLA, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) can initiate action against a person only if there is a scheduled offence (a prior First Information Report; FIR). The special court has asked the ED to file its reply by October 7.

Pankaj Bhujbal, Sameer Bhujbal, Chhagan Bhujbal, and 51 others, were charged by the ED in 2016 for various offences, including the alleged Maharashtra Sadan scam.

Along with Sameer and Pankaj, other accused in the case – Sanjay Joshi, Tanvir Shaikh, Satyen Kesarkar and Rajesh Dharap – have also moved a plea to drop proceedings against them. Chhagan Bhujbal, who is also an accused in the case, has not been named in the plea as his discharge application in one of the ACB cases is still pending.

Initially, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) had registered a FIR against them in connection with the alleged Maharashtra Sadan scam. A case was also registered against them by the Taloja police in Navi Mumbai in a cheating case related to the construction of a proposed residential building.

Based on these FIRs, the ED registered a case against them. However, the six have been discharged in the ACB and the Navi Mumbai cases.

The application, filed through advocates Vijay Agarwal and Sudarshan Khawase, states that in light of the SC guidelines and their discharge in the scheduled offences, the special court has no jurisdiction to proceed against them.

Last month, the PMLA court discharged Babulal Varma and Kamalkishore Gupta of Omkar Group in a case where Yes Bank was defrauded to the tune of Rs 410 crore. They were granted reprieve since the case registered against them in Aurangabad in 2020 had been closed. Citing parity, actor and businessman Sachiin Joshi, too, has sought relief in the case.

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