Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik’s aide sent to judicial custody

Amit Chandole, 46, a Thane resident arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a money-laundering case was sent to judicial custody (JC) by a court on Sunday.

Chandole was arrested on November 25 in the case involving alleged misappropriations in a contract bagged by Topsgrup with the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA). Chandole was in ED custody till Sunday and was produced before the court after which he was sent to JC. The ED registered a case on the basis of the FIR registered with Yellow Gate police station. As per the FIR filed by Ramesh Iyer from Tops Group, Rahul Nanda, promoter and chairman of the group and other connected persons diverted huge funds from the account of Tops Group companies to various accounts in India and to accounts of overseas companies. As per the allegations, the company was defrauded to the tune of Rs 175 crore. Nanda has earlier denied allegations.

The ED had earlier told the court that Chandole is a close confidante of Shiv Sena legislator Pratap Sarnaik and that he used to collect the said profits on behalf of Sarnaik. The funds mostly used to be delivered in cash; and that one Miss Latika Randive used to maintain the records for the same and she used to coordinate with Chandole, the ED had earlier told the court citing statements recorded by the agency. According to ED, the statement of Chandole has been recorded on Wednesday, wherein he stated that he came into contact with Rahul Nanda, promoter and chairman of the group through Sarnaik who is his close friend. The ED has earlier told the court that Chandole, in his statement, said that there was a contract of Tops Group with MMRDA in which he was sharing 50% of the profit arising out of the contract. The contract was providing security to MMRDA lands and that there was no return agreement regarding sharing of 50% profit and it was oral based on trust only. The payment regarding 50% profit share was made to him in cash, which was used to be given by Niraj Bijlani, who is ex-CEO of Tops Group. Chandole added that he also used to get payments in NEFT and that the cash received from Tops Group used to be utilised towards household expenses.

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