FPJ Exclusive: ED Concludes Preliminary Investigation Into ₹164 Crore Fake Officer Extortion Racket

FPJ Exclusive: ED Concludes Preliminary Investigation Into ₹164 Crore Fake Officer Extortion Racket

It was revealed that the accused had falsely claimed to be in contact with ED officers solely to intimidate the victim.

Ashish SinghUpdated: Thursday, February 08, 2024, 08:27 PM IST
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Romi Bhagat |

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has confirmed to FPJ that they conducted a preliminary investigation into the Rs 164 crore fake ED officer extortion racket case. This case was initially investigated by the crime branch, and subsequently, the ED registered the ECIR. Following the investigation, the ED concluded that no ED officials were involved in the extortion racket. It was revealed that the accused had falsely claimed to be in contact with ED officers solely to intimidate the victim.

Senior ED officials meticulously reviewed CCTV footage from Romi Bhagat's house and the Starbox Cafe at Nariman Point office; however, they found no suspicious involvement of ED officers in the case.

A Senior ED officials also confirmed that after registering the ECIR in this case, they recorded the statement of the victim builder, Tarachand Mulchand Verma. Despite several discrepancies in the case, Verma himself affirmed that he never met with any ED officials. Additionally, the ED collaborated with the Mumbai Crime Branch for investigation, which concluded that among the documents recovered from accused Romi Bhagat, none pertained to ED investigations, summons copies, or any papers related to ongoing cases.

Findings from preliminary investigations

These documents are publicly available and accessible online to anyone. Furthermore, the primary investigation refutes any connection with the officer holding the designated post, who was recently transferred. According to senior officials, the transfer was unrelated to this case. To date, no political links have been found in this extortion racket case.  

After the arrest of Hiren Ramesh Bhagat, also known as Romi Bhagat, in the Fake ED officer extortion case, the case garnered significant attention and suspicion due to Bhagat's alleged connections with bureaucrats, politicians, and high-ranking officials from various departments. Bhagat is believed to have played a significant role in the 164 crore extortion case. Numerous rumors circulated suggesting that he was a close associate of many politicians and ministers from the ruling party, involved in their liaison work, and implicated in several disputed projects.

Searches at Romi Bhagat's residence

During searches at Romi Bhagat's residence, the crime branch recovered case papers related to ED and EOW cases. Sources indicated that through his political connections, Bhagat had managed to settle several cases.During the investigation, CCTV footage from Bhagat's residential premises revealed that the house help had left with six large suitcases, which were later traced.

Upon opening the bags, officers discovered foreign weapons, 150 live bullets, jewelry, Indian and foreign currency, bank locker keys, and luxury watches. Additionally, one travel bag contained documents related to major corporate companies, including confidential papers, complaints, copies of several cases, FIRs, and agreements. Currently, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) is closely coordinating with the Mumbai Police to gather all the latest updates and details regarding the ongoing investigation.

It is anticipated that the ED will soon take custody of the accused involved in the case. 

Omkar developers and its related issues

Before the extortion case came to light, Omkar Realtors and Developers, a company, had been embroiled in issues concerning its involvement in the Maharashtra State Cooperative Bank scam. During the ED investigation, it was revealed that the Omkar Group had acquired Guru Commodity in 2010 primarily to participate in the auction process of Jarandeshwar SSK.

The auction, held on September 27, 2010, resulted in Guru Commodity being declared the winning bidder. The agency alleged that the bank had manipulated the auction to favor Guru Commodity Services Pvt Ltd exclusively. Additionally, the agency claimed that Guru Commodity's participation in the auction was merely a proxy for Jarandeshwar Sugar Mills Pvt Ltd.

It's worth noting that Ajit Pawar was a member of the board of directors of MSCB at the time of the mill's auction.According to the omkar developer owner statements provided to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials in the extortion case, it was revealed that he had given Rs 25 lakh to the accused Amey Dinkar Savekar, a key member of Romil Bhagat's extortion group. According to these statements, Amey Savekar played a significant role alongside Bhagat in the extortion racket.

Bhagat assumed the role of an ED officer, while Savekar acted as a liaison with the  ED officers.

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