Mumbai: Just prior to the hearing on former Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal’s application for bail, the ED has attached former’s properties, which the agency claims are worth Rs 20.41 crores. Interestingly, these properties include the house willed to Bhujbal by his grandmother and another which he had got under the MLA quota.
The family learnt about the attachment while it was present in the PMLA court on Tuesday afternoon; the matter was brought to the attention of the legal team, which has accused the ED of trying to influence the court prior to the bail hearing. The ED, in its release, has claimed these properties are connected with the Maharashtra Sadan scam.
“Today some properties of Bhujbal and his family have been attached by the ED.This attachment is outright bad in law as some of the assets were procured by Bhujbal’s grandmother and willed to him, while others were allotted to him decades ago under MLA quota. These properties have no connection with the alleged proceeds of crime or with the Maharashtra Sadan project,” said advocate Sajjan Yadav.
He also said there was no requirement for this attachment. “It has been done only to garner headlines and influence the bail proceedings. ED has not attached any additional properties in the last one year. This has happened after the Supreme Court struck down the draconian section 45 of PMLA which puts an embargo on bail.”
With this fresh assets seizure order, the total attachment in the case stands at Rs. 178 crore. Bhujbal, who was minister in the previous government, was arrested on March 14 last year; he is in the jail ever since. Bhujbal’s son and NCP legislator Pankaj and his nephew Sameer are also accused in this case.