Stating that the senior politician had amassed Rs 203.24 crore between 1999 and 2014, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Thursday registered a Disproportionate Assets (DA) case Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Chhagan Bhujbal and his family members. In total, 12 persons have been booked under sections 13(1) E and 13(2) of the Pervention of Corruption Act in the case.
While Chhagan Bhujbal is individually accused of amassing wealth over 7,152.50 per cent more than his known sources of income, in the joint declarations between him and his wife Meena, the couple was found to have amassed wealth which was 32 per cent more than their known sources of income.
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The agency has also found Pankaj Bhujbal and his wife Vishakha to be jointly possessing wealth 45.27 per cent more than what they had declared. ACB sources said they had reached this “conservative estimate” after taking into account the expenditure incurred by them.
The agency has named his nephew Sameer Bhujbal, their chartered accountant Sunil Naik and Kolkata-based alleged hawala operator Suresh Jajodia as other accused in the case. These people are accused of helping Chhagan Bhujbal in routing the money to six dummy companies by showing them as share sales.
“The shares were sold at unrealistic premiums with the only intention of legitimising the cash that Chhagan Bhujbal received as kickbacks for favouring contractors in various projects. The others — Pravin Jain, Sanjeev jain, CA Chandrashekhar Sarda and Kapil Puri — are accused of helping him in laundering the money,” said a senior official.
While arriving at the figure of 32 per cent, ACB sources claim, between 1999 and 2014, Bhujbal earned Rs 87,16,116 through salary and Rs 1,62,20,037 through agriculture businesses. His wife Meena earned Rs 36,88,322 from the agricultural business. Cumulatively, the couple showed an income of Rs 2,86,24,475. However, the ACB found out that the real income of the two during this period was Rs.37,784,307, which was 32 per cent more than their known source if income.
Similarly, in the case of Pankaj Bhujbal and his wife Vishakha, they had earned Rs 44,86,944 as salaries and Rs 2,34,23,549 from the farm business. But the ACB found out that their earnings were in fact Rs 2,79,104,93 — 45.27 per cent more than their income.
In February this year, the ACB had filed a chargesheet against Bhujbal and his kin in the multi-crore Maharashtra Sadan construction scam, which is being probed by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) comprising ACB and Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials. Subsequently, the ED arrested both the former Deputy Chief Minister and his nephew Sameer Bhujbal in a money laundering case connected to the scam. Both Sameer and Chhagan Bhujbal are currently lodged at Mumbai’s Arthur Road jail.