IN a detailed order rejecting bail for former deputy chief minister Chhagan Bhujbal and his nephew Sameer Bhujbal, a special court said they they were prima facie involved in money laundering. The court had on December 18 rejected the bail plea of Bhujbal who has been in custody since March 2016.
“The applicant (Bhujbal) who was enjoying high position secured the contract of Maharashtra Sadan. He received kickbacks in the said project. Accused persons systematically laundered the crime proceeds by offering shares of various companies.which were not found at their given address,” the court said. It said they had caused a loss to the state exchequer.
The court also considered the Enforcement Directorate’s submission alleging that the co-accused in the case who had moved applications to become approvers had been threatened. “The act of the applicants shows that there are allegations of threatening the co-accused who had moved applications to become approvers, therefore tampering with witnesses cannot be ruled out,” special judge MS Azmi said.
Two former employees of Mumbai Education Trust, Amit Balraj and Sudhir Salaskar, had sought to become prosecution witnesses in the case against the Bhujbals.
On other submissions made by the Bhujbals including the applicability of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, the court observed that they would be considered at the time of trial.