The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday told a special court where it had produced Shiv Sena MP Bhavana Gawali's close associate Saeed Khan to seek his further custody in a money laundering case, that it is a peculiar case where the complainant turns into an accused, indirectly referring to the MP.
The ED's probe is based on an FIR registered by Gawali against trustees of Mahila Utkarsha Pratishthan of which she was the Chairman. She had alleged cheating and usurping of funds of the trust to the tune of Rs 18.18 crores by them. The ED’s probe, it claimed, revealed that Gawali had conspired to convert the public trust into a company illegally using forged documents to gain control of Rs 69 crore worth of its assets and that Khan and the MP’s mother Shalini Gawali were the directors of the company.
The agency told the court that subsequently the complainant's (Gawali) role has emerged which needs to be probed. Prosecutor Sunil Gonsalves told the court, "There are certain witnesses whose role can be categorized as that of an accused. He added that they are summoned to appear before it on Monday and are likely to be an accused. It may be noted that Gawali has been summoned by the agency to appear before the ED on Monday for questioning.
The ED said it needs to confront Khan with the witnesses who need to be shown documents to unearth the money trail. Again, in an apparent reference to Gawali, the ED said that under the garb of filing an FIR, the accused is trying to shield themselves.
During interrogation, it said Khan was not cooperating with it and avoiding questions as well as diverting them, telling it that Gawali will be the better person to answer or that she is aware of the facts.
Appearing for Khan, advocate Inderpal Singh argued that the company is a non-profit one in which directors are social workers and that the money is used for the welfare of children.
Special judge under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) MG Deshpande extended Khan’s custody with the ED till October 5. The court said the probe has made ‘remarkable progress’ and considered the documents involved and the compass of inquiry being wide, for granting more time for custodial interrogation. It found substance in the contention of the agency that persons disclosed by him need to be confronted with him.
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