The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has registered Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against ex-mayor and Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Kishori Pednekar, a former additional municipal commissioner (Projects) and a former deputy municipal commissioner (purchase/CPD), and private contractor Vedanta Innotech PVT, and unknown other government servants, in the alleged scam involving the purchase of body bags at inflated rates during the Covid-19 pandemic. The amount involved in the alleged fraud has been mentioned at around ₹49.63 lakh.
An agency official has confirmed that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has registered an ECIR in the body bag scam case. According to a reliable source, the ED will soon issue summons related to the COVID body bag case for statements.
ED's investigation runs parallel to the ongoing probe by EOW
The ED's investigation runs parallel to the ongoing probe by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW). ED obtained the documents from the EOW after the latter initiated its case. ED's case is based on the FIR registered by Mumbai police’s Economic Offences Wing (EOW) officials on August 4 against kishori Pednekar, Additional municipal commissioner of--Project,Deputy Municipal commissioner of Central Purchase Department (CPD) and others unknown persons. Pednekar and other senior civic officials were booked under Sections 409 (criminal breach of trust by a public servant or by a banker, merchant, or agent), 420 (cheating) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code. In the body bag scam case,
The Bombay High Court had granted interim protection from arrest for four weeks to former Mumbai mayor Kishori Pednekar in connection with an alleged scam in the purchase of body bags for Covid-19 victims.The court also directed Pednekar to cooperate with the probe in the case and directed him to attend the EOW office on September 11. alleged that Kishori Pednekar was influencing the decision of the administrative committee to finalise the tender.
Ramakant Biradar interrogated by EOW
Last month, the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) had already interrogated Deputy Municipal Commissioner Ramakant Biradar, who held the responsibility for the civic body's Central Purchase Department (CPD) during the pandemic. Biradar's statement had also been recorded by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) as part of a separate Covid scam investigation, focusing on alleged irregularities in the BMC's operations during the pandemic.
The private company, M/S Vedant Innotech PVT (VIPL), is under scrutiny for allegedly supplying body bags for deceased COVID-19 patients to the BMC at ₹6,719 per bag. This rate was over two times the quoted price of ₹2,925 per bag by Care One Solution for other private hospitals or government authorities during the same period. The EOW FIR states that the accused hatched a criminal conspiracy to favor M/s Vedanta Innotech Pvt, Ltd (VIPL), its directors, and defraud the BMC.
EOW's case was registered based on July 18 complaint of former BJP MP leader, alleging irregularities in the expenditure during the Covid pandemic period.The accused persons allegedly committed a criminal breach of entrustment of public monies to the tune of ₹49,63,200 and thereby committed the offence.