The Maharashtra Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) probing the disproportionate assets of suspended Maharashtra Housing & Area Development Authority (MHADA) deputy collector Nitish Thakur is now looking into a fresh transaction of Rs 16 crore. Thakur,who is out on bail,has allegedly told investigators that the transaction was made towards an agro business based in Kerala.
The amount was allegedly paid in one transaction by a Dubai-based agency early in 2012. Officers said the transaction appears to be aimed at laundering money,with the source as dubious as Thakurs several companies. The ACB has sought the expertise of Enforcement Directorate in the probe.
We found that the transaction was made by a Dubai-based company but in a US-based bank account. Thakur has not given any satisfactory answers yet on any aspect of the transaction, an ACB official said. The Dubai firm allegedly paid the amount to Thakurs Acecord Agro.
During questioning,Thakur has allegedly informed the investigators that the money was meant for investment in the business of copra or dry coconut in Kerala. With no disclosure on the modalities of the business transaction or the background of the Dubai-based company,the agency is now awaiting the EDs investigation of the money trail. From the looks of it,the money has just been rotated between Dubai,the US and India but we suspect it has gone from here, the official said.
Thakurs passport,according to investigating officials,shows he had made some trips to Dubai,which are now under scrutiny. Thakurs five companies,which are under probe,also show several transactions,which are being accounted. Most of these companies have shareholding within the family,with his brother Nilesh having majority shares in some and his mother and wife having equal shareholding in others. All the companies,including Acecord Agro,were floated when he was on unauthorised leave from MHADA.
Meanwhile,the probe into transactions between real estate giant Shapoorji Pallonji and Thakurs brother allegedly hint at an initial agreement of Rs 2 crore,wherein the latter had been identified as the agent towards land aggregation. During interrogation,Thakur had reportedly told the ACB that Rs 35 lakh was pegged as acquisition amount per acre,with himself accompanying Nilesh on several visits across Alibag. The real estate major is alleged to have paid amounts in several transactions but the probe has reportedly found that the titles of the acquired land are all in the name of Thakurs family members.