ED Raids 15 Locations In Mumbai & Thane In Connection With COVID Jumbo Centre Scam

ED Raids 15 Locations In Mumbai & Thane In Connection With COVID Jumbo Centre Scam

The raids come a day after Maharashtra government ordered probe into the alleged COVID Jumbo Centre scam.

Dharmesh ThakkarUpdated: Thursday, June 22, 2023, 12:36 AM IST
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Uddhav Thackeray, Aaditya and Suraj Chaven (left to right) |

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) conducted simultaneous raids early morning at 15 locations in Mumbai and Thane, targeting individuals associated with the COVID jumbo centre scam. The investigation is focused on BMC officials and close aides of Uddhav Thackeray, the Chief Minister of Maharashtra.

The ED sleuths searched the premises of several individuals, including IAS Sanjeev Jaiswal, former municipal commissioner of Thane, and 14 others closely associated with Rajya Sabha MP and Shiv Sena (UBT) spokesman, Sanjay Raut. The raids were carried out as part of the ongoing probe initiated after the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) flagged irregularities in BMC contracts worth Rs 12,000 crore awarded during the pandemic.

Focus on aides and associates of Uddhav Thackeray and Shiv Sena (UBT) leaders

The investigation extended to the close aides of Uddhav Thackeray's son, Aaditya Thackeray, with the ED searching the Chembur residence of Suraj Chavan. Additionally, the Santa Cruz residence of Sujit Patkar, a close aide of Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Sanjay Raut, was also targeted. The scrutiny extended to various other individuals, including senior IAS officer Sanjeev Jaiswal and entities like Lifeline Hospital Management Services, suppliers, contractors, and middlemen involved in the alleged Rs 12,000 crore scam.

Money-laundering probe traces back to BMC contracts and Shiv Sena leaders

The ED's money-laundering investigation is rooted in a case registered in August of the previous year at the Azad Maidan police station. The case was later transferred to the Mumbai Police's Economic Offences Wing (EOW) in October 2022 to probe the award of contracts at exorbitant rates to contractors associated with the ruling Shiv Sena leaders in the MVA regime. The contracts, granted to individuals lacking prior experience in the healthcare sector, were meant for setting up COVID centers at various locations in Mumbai and Pune.

FIR registered against Lifeline Hospital management services and partners

An FIR was registered in August of the preceding year against Lifeline Hospital Management Services and its partners, including Sujit Mukund Patkar, Dr. Hemant Ramsharan Gupta, Sanjay Madanlal Shah, and Raju Nandkumar Salunkhe. These entities were contracted by the BMC to establish jumbo COVID centers during the pandemic, and their involvement is a subject of the ongoing investigation.

Background of the case

In January this year, ED had also recorded the statement of BMC commissioner IS Chahal in connection with the case. A money laundering case against Sujat Patkar, close associate of UBT MP Sanjay Raut, was registered by the ED following investigation in the case by Mumbai Police in 2022.

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