Senior bureaucrat Sanjeev Jaiswal, once again, failed to appear for questioning at the Enforcement Directorate (ED) summons at the Ballard Estate office of the probe agency on Monday. He requested additional time and sought an extension, despite being previously asked to present himself for questioning on Thursday. Jaiswal had sought a four-day extension before presenting himself at the ED office.
The troubles for 1996 IAS Jaiswal escalated as a special investigation team initiated an investigation into the alleged COVID scam. Additionally, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) expanded its investigation to include irregularities and money laundering in relation to the assets of the senior bureaucrat.
Documents reveal trail of benami properties and offshore investments: Sources
According to sources, the examination of documents seized from Jaiswal's residence, coupled with data analytics, has directed investigators towards the trail of numerous benami properties and offshore investments. These investments are believed to be connected to a Thane-based builder who also holds a position as a member of CREDAI office bearer.
The documents uncovered are linked to substantial investments made overseas in the real-estate sector during Jaiswal's tenure as the Thane Municipal Commissioner by favoring a cartel of real-estate developers.
A probe official has confirmed that several TMC officials from the town planning department, along with a prominent architect from Thane and a developer, have been identified in connection with the case. They will be summoned for questioning as part of the ongoing investigation.
Jaiswal refutes allegations
Sanjeev Jaiswal has denied any involvement in irregularities and has dismissed the allegations of investments abroad as baseless.
Jaiswal clarified, "Regarding my tenure at TMC, I cannot comment anything as every approval, if granted, was in accordance with the rules and provisions. Therefore, there is no question of favoring anyone."
Last week, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) carried out a series of simultaneous raids at 15 locations in Mumbai and the Thane region. These raids were conducted in connection with the COVID Jumbo Centre scam, which is linked to BMC officials and close aides of Uddhav Thackeray, the then Chief Minister of Maharashtra.
Jaiswal has defended properties as gifts to wife by her father
During the searches at Sanjeev Jaiswal's Bandra residence, who previously served as an Additional Commissioner in BMC and currently holds the position of CEO of MHADA, several property documents valued at an alleged amount exceeding Rs 100 crores, fixed deposit receipts amounting to Rs 15 crores, and jewelry were seized. Jaiswal has defended the properties, stating that they are valued at only Rs 34 crores, and claimed that they were gifted to his wife by her father, a retired Chief Commissioner of the Income Tax department.
Jaiswal is currently under investigation for suspected irregularities in the approval and procurement process of equipment for Jumbo Covid Centers. This includes items such as beds, PPE kits, gloves, canteen facilities, and medical staff, which are alleged to have been purchased at inflated rates.
No connection to BMC Covid procurement: Jaiswal
The senior IAS officer, Jaiswal, has asserted that he is being targeted as a part of a political vendetta. “The irony is that CPD which did all the purchases and procurement during Covid in BMC was not under me. I have not even signed a single file related to COVID purchases.
All purchases made by Central Purchase Dept was under DMC Biradar , Addl MC Velarasu and MC I.S. Chahal,” insisted MHADA CEO Jaiswal.
The probe agency has uncovered irregularities in the purchase of medicines by the BMC, where the prices were found to be 25-30% higher than the prevailing market rates during the pandemic. Furthermore, it was revealed that a contractor had provided body bags to the civic body's Central Procurement Department (CPD) at a rate of Rs6,800, while other hospitals received the same supplies at a significantly lower rate of Rs2,000.