Mumbai: Khadse’s kin bought MIDC land in ‘void’ sale deed, claims ED

Former minister Eknath Khadse’s wife and son-in-law entered into a 'void' sale deed purchasing a land belonging to the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) from a private person and then claimed compensation for the land, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) told a special court on Thursday.

Seeking an extended custody of the politician’s son-in-law Girish Chaudhari for six days, the agency told a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court that Chaudhari and Khadse’s wife Mandakini wrongly purchased the land belonging to MIDC from Abbas Ukani.

Hence, it said, they are not entitled to the land. After the void sale, the ED said that the duo raised a demand for compensation under the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013.

It also informed the court that the district collector of Pune clearly said that despite the property being in possession of MIDC, the sale deed was made and stamp duty was paid. The agency said it has recorded the statements of an ex-director of Benchmark Buildcon, Manjunath Omkar. Chaudhari had claimed that this firm had provided him Rs 2 crore out of the Rs 3.75 crore with which the land was purchased. The ED claimed that this is a shell company and Omkar said he was paid Rs 15,000 as salary to become its director. Further, the dummy executive is said to have stated that he has not seen any work being carried out by the company and that it is indeed a paper company.

On Monday, the agency had informed the court that another ex-director of the company, Arvind Udeshi, in his statement, had said he was paid Rs 25,000 as salary per month to sign the balance sheets and that two other companies operated from the same address.

Meanwhile, Chaudhari’s advocate Mohan Tekavde opposed his extended custody and argued that the arrest itself was illegal as the notice was not served as per procedure.

The ED said it would be recording the statements of an MIDC official and sub-registrar to know the legality of transactions.

Advocates who had advised both sides in the land deal will also be questioned, it said, and sought that Chaudhari be kept in custody as he is ‘very influential’ and may influence them.

The court extended Chaudhari’s custody till July 19.

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