ED may question Shiv Sena legislator Pratap again

Mumbai: Shiv Sena legislator Pratap Sarnaik is likely to face a second round of questioning by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a case involving alleged misappropriations in a contract bagged by Tops Group from the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA).

Sarnaik was questioned by ED over the contact and his alleged links with Amit Chandole, 46, who has been arrested in the case and termed as his "confidante" by the agency. The agency is investigating the financial aspects of the case and if there was any misappropriation. Sarnaik has said that it was his duty to answer ED’s questions as a public representative. The agency may question Sarnaik next week.

The Supreme Court (SC) had asked ED to not take any coercive action against Sarnaik and his family in a recent interim order. Sarnaik and his son Vihang were issued multiple summons in the case.

Vihang, an active member of the Yuva Sena, Shiv Sena's youth wing, was taken to the ED office from the family residence after the ED conducted searches on the premises linked to the family last month. Sarnaik, who was out of town then, was in quarantine and had communicated the same to the agency. The case has also turned into a political row between the ruling Shiv Sena-led Maha Vikas Aghadi and the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

ED, referring to the statements recorded in the case, had earlier told the court that “It appears that Tops Group obtained a contract from MMRDA in collusion with Sarnaik through illegal means by a well thought out strategy. The aim of these illegal maneuvers was to get additional inadmissible benefits by inflating the bills”. The ED had earlier told the court that Chandole used to collect the said profits on behalf of Sarnaik. The funds mostly used to be delivered in cash; and that one Miss Latika Randive used to maintain the records for the same and she used to coordinate with Chandole.

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