THE enforcement Directorate (ED) has summoned former Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister and NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal for questioning on March 14 in connection with a money laundering case filed against his family, confirmed sources familiar with the development. The ED has alleged that the Bhujbals “played a crucial role in laundering huge amounts of money and not coming out with the true facts” in a scam where the state exchequer lost Rs 870 crore. It further alleged that the books of accounts of some of the firms controlled by the Bhujbals reflect unexplained transactions which, the agency suspects, are nothing but “kickbacks received by the Bhujbals”.
According to sources, Chhagan Bhujbal will appear before the agency along with his lawyer. Last month, the ED questioned Chhagan’s son Pankaj Bhujbal in the case.
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The agency also seized Pankaj’s passport to ensure he does not leave the country. Meanwhile, a special court extended the judicial custody of Chhagan’s nephew Sameer Bhujbal till March 21 in the same case. Sameer was arrested by the ED on February 1 under Section 19 of PMLA. The ED has alleged that the Bhujbals accepted cash in lieu of projects to contractors and “channeled it into various companies and integrated it into business activities of the group companies”.
On June 17, 2015, the ED filed two FIRs under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against Chhaga Bhujbal, his son and nephew for money laundering. This was after the ACB searched 26 properties of Chhagan as part of its investigations into alleged irregularities in the award of a contract of over
Rs 100 crore for three projects in 2006 when he was deputy CM and PWD minister. The contract given to M/s Chamankar Developers involved the construction of Maharashtra Sadan in Delhi, a new RTO building in Andheri and a state guest house.