A visibly stressed Suraj Chavan arrived at the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) Mumbai zonal office at 12.30pm to record his statement in the money laundering case linked to the BMC jumbo Covid centre scam allegedly involving senior civic officials, contractors, suppliers and political leaders.
Chavan, a close aide and friend of Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Aaditya Thackeray, is suspected to be one of the four middlemen identified during the ED investigation. His name reportedly cropped up in a few contracts and cash transactions in the Covid civic supply deals.
Irregularities in emergency purchases
Preliminary investigation has shown irregularities in ₹4000crore emergency purchase of PPE kits, gloves, masks, ventilators and oxygen supply at inflated rates allegedly favouring select vendors at the behest of Chavan, who is also a Yuva Sena core committee member.
The ED questioned Chavan about cash transactions and four flats worth Rs10 crore purchased during the pandemic. Jewellery worth Rs2.4 crore and Rs68 lakh cash was seized during raids at his Chembur residence on Wednesday last week along with several documents and electronic devices.
ED retrieved WhatsApp chats, dairies, details of cash transactions by Chavan
The investigation of WhatsApp chats, dairies and details of cash transactions made allegedly by Chavan with the contractors, suppliers, politicians and BMC officials was retrieved by the ED from data dumps.
Chavan had allegedly pressured civic officials to favour Lifeline Hospital Management Services and its partners, including Sujit Mukund Patkar, Dr Hemant Ramsharan Gupta, Sanjay Madanlal Shah and Raju Nandkumar Salunkhe, who were contracted by the BMC to set up jumbo centres during the pandemic.
The contracts at exorbitant rates were given to Lifeline Hospital Management Services, which had no prior experience in the healthcare service sector to set up Covid centres at NSEL, Worli, Mulund, Dahisar (in Mumbai) and Pune.