Rejecting the Shiv Sena (UBT) MLA Ravindra Waikar's request of giving him a month's time, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has again summoned him on January 23 (Tuesday) in connection with a money-laundering case related to an under-construction luxury hotel in Jogeshwari. The legislator had failed to appear before the central agency on January 17 to record his statement. He sought a one-month exemption from appearing before the ED.
No sufficient reason for Waikar to seek an exemption: ED
According to agency sources, there wasn't a sufficient reason for Waikar to seek an exemption. Hence, it was decided to summon him again. Recently, the ED carried out a search operation at Waikar's residence and affiliated entities. The case is related to the construction of the hotel, which reportedly violated the agreement inked between Waikar and the BMC for the development of the said land. The value of the scam is estimated to be Rs500 crore. It is alleged that the plot, which was reserved for a public garden, was acquired unlawfully.
Case against Waikar
Talking to The Free Press Journal, Waikar said that the ED has alleged that he earned the whopping amount from events, marriages and receptions organised between 2004 and 2016-17 on the land. According to the ED, the land sprawling 8,000 sq m comes under plot no 1-B and 1-C at Vyarvali village, Jogeshwari. It was owned by late film producer Kamal Amrohi's family members, and was subsequently purchased by Waikar and other associated individuals in 2004, said the agency.
In February 2004, a tripartite agreement was reached among Mahal Pictures Pvt Ltd (Kamal Amrohi's official company), Waikar and the BMC for the development of the same land. As per the conditions, 67% of the plot would be developed for entertainment purposes and public use, while the remaining 33% was designated for sports.
During the tenure of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government in 2017, Waikar is alleged to have misused his political influence and connections for the pursuance of the scam. He apparently concealed the existence of the tripartite agreement, enabling him to secure permission from the BMC to construct a 14-storey five-star hotel, violating the land acquisition rules, said the ED.