The special court for cases against MPs and MLAs refused to drop money laundering proceedings against Maharashtra Minister Chhagan Bhujbal’s son Sameer and nephew Pankaj, observing that it did not have the power to quash the case against the accused and that it could only be done by high court.
Plea to drop proceedings under Prevention of Money Laundering Act
The court rejected the plea of the two on Friday, wherein the duo had pleaded for the court to drop the proceedings under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. They had pleaded that they had been discharged from the predicate offences which were the base to initiate the money-laundering proceedings against them.
Special Judge R N Rokade said there was no provision under the law to drop the proceedings. Besides, he held, the power to quash the case was with Bombay High Court. Sameer, Pankaj and Chhagan Bhujbal and 49 other accused were booked for money laundering in 2016.
Irregularities in construction of Maharashtra Sadan and Kalina land deal
The ED had initiated a probe based on allegations of irregularities in connection with the construction of Maharashtra Sadan in Delhi and a land deal in Kalina. Besides, Sameer was also booked in another case of cheating registered by the local police, in the construction of a proposed residential building in Navi Mumbai.
The case was registered against the Bhujbals and others in 2015, based on a complaint by a Chembur resident. The complaint was filed against the directors of Devisha Infrastructure Private Limited (DIPL), which included the Bhujbals. It was alleged that the accused had hatched a conspiracy to purportedly develop a project, Hexworld, on 25 acres of land in Kharghar, even as they were fully aware that the DIPL had no land in its name, no construction permission and no land in their possession.
Allegation of misrepresentation of facts
It was alleged that they had misrepresented the issue to potential homebuyers, by concealing the above facts with a view to cheat them, selling 2,344 flats and collecting Rs 44.04 crore as part payments. The accused in the case were discharged in 2021 by the sessions court In the Maharashtra Sadan scam, the prosecution alleged that the contract for the redevelopment of the state guesthouse was not advertised, and the contractor had subcontracted the task to companies owned by the Bhujbals and friends. The Bhujbals were discharged from the said case by the special ACB court, which had observed that there was no illegality in the awarding of the contract for the construction of Maharashtra Sadan.