Mumbai: All transactions made in the Pune MIDC land deal by former revenue minister Eknath Khadse’s son-in-law Girish Chaudhari and wife Mandakini were in cash. The money went to a shell company and was routed back to Chaudhari, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) told an incharge court on Monday seeking another day’s custody of Chaudhari.
The agency further told the court that it needed to confront Chaudhari with a person who runs the day-to-day affairs of that shell company. It said it has a statement on the above information, but that Chaudhari is in denial and hence needs to be confronted with the person.
Chaudhari’s advocate Mohan Tekavde pointed out that Chaudhari is an IIT graduate, had joined the probe when summoned and provided all documents to the ED. He opposed an extended custody of Chaudhari, who has been in ED’s custody since his arrest on July 7.
Incharge judge SH Gwalani noted that the agency needs to confront the accused with a witness for the purpose of finding out regarding the proceeds of crime and extended his custody till Tuesday.
Earlier, the ED had informed the court that its probe had revealed that the firm Benchmark Buildcon, which Chaudhari claimed had provided Rs. 2 crores out of Rs. 3.75 crores to buy the land, hardly had an operating income and was a shell company. This firm had received funds, it found, from six other firms and transferred them immediately to Chaudhari. Summons sent to these six firms were returned by the post as ‘left’ or ‘not claimed’. It had concluded that the source of funds for the purchase of land were not genuine and routed through various companies.
The agency claims Khadse used his official position as a minister to coerce registration officials to downplay the market value of the said land as 3.75 crores when it was Rs. 31 crores. His kin bought the land in a ‘void’ sale deed from a private person, who claimed to be its owner, when the property belonged to the MIDC. They then claimed compensation for the land from the revenue authorities, which is over two times of the market value of the property.