Mumbai: Former minister Eknath Khadse’s wife and son-in-law entered into a sale deed purchasing a land belonging to the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) from a private person, hence a ‘void’ sale 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 the politician’s wife Mandakini Khadse wrongly purchased the land belonging to the MIDC from one Abbas Ukani and hence are not entitled to the land. After the void sale, the ED said that the duo raised 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, Pune has clearly said that despite the property being in possession of MIDC, the sale deed was made and stamp duty paid. The agency said it has recorded the statement of an ex-director Manjunath Omkar of Benchmark Buildcon. Chaudhari had claimed this firm provided Rs 2 crores of the Rs 3.75 crores with which the land was purchased. The ED has claimed this is a shell company and that the former director Omkar has 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 to it had said he was paid Rs 25,000 as salary per month to sign balance sheets and that two other companies operated from the same address.
Chaudhari’s advocate Mohan Tekavde opposed his further custody and argued that the arrest itself was illegal as notice was not served as per procedure. The ED said it would be recording statements of an MIDC official and sub-registrar officer 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 19 July.