A WEEK after two co-accused in a money-laundering case against Nationalist Congress Party leader Chhagan Bhujbal alleged that his son Pankaj had threatened them, a special court has directed that CCTV footage of the courtroom corridor, where the alleged incident took place, be retained.
Last week, Amit Balraj and Sudhir Salaskar filed an application claiming that when they came to the special Prevention of Money Laundering Act court for their hearing on May 16, they saw NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal “holding a darbar” inside the courtroom with his “business associates, colleagues and cronies”.
The two also claimed that when they came out of the courtroom, NCP MLA Pankaj approached them asking why they were waiting and asked them to leave. They claimed that he also said there would be dire consequences if they did not leave the premises.
The two men filed a non-cognisable offence with the Colaba police station alleging criminal intimidation and sought CCTV footage of the passage outside the courtroom where they were allegedly threatened on May 16.
The Enforcement Directorate in its reply had asked the court to pass appropriate orders on the plea.
“The department concerned of this court is directed to retain the CCTV recording dated May 16, 2017, from 11 am to 3 pm of the passage outside the courtroom number 16 and is also directed that the copy of the said electronic CCTV recording be provided to the applicant on payment of charges to enable them to produce the same before the designated court and other agencies,” special Judge P R Bhavake said.
Balraj and Salaskar, former employees of the Mumbai Educational Trust founded by Bhujbal, had claimed that they were waiting for their lawyer outside the courtroom when Pankaj approached them. They claimed that the “threat” had alarmed them because of which they approached the police.
The two, named as co-accused in the case, had in February filed pleas seeking “tender of pardon” to become approvers in the case against the Bhujbals.
The case pertains to alleged money laundering and misappropriation of funds from alleged kickbacks received for favouring contractors in the construction of Maharashtra Sadan in New Delhi and a central library on the Kalina campus of Mumbai University.