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ED probe against Pratap Sarnaik: Court accepts closure report by EOW against Topsgrup

The EOW had in January filed a “C summary” closure report before the court stating that no criminality has been made out in the case. The metropolitan magistrate’s court accepted the report on Wednesday.

The ED had alleged that Sarnaik had received kickbacks of over Rs 7 crore from Topsgrup for allegedly facilitating its contract of Rs 175 crore with the MMRDA. (Express photo by Ganesh Shirsekar)

The chief metropolitan magistrate’s court on Wednesday accepted the closure report filed by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) in the case against Topsgrup Services and Solution Limited.

It was this case, based on which the Enforcement Directorate (ED) had lodged a money laundering case and probed MLA Pratap Sarnaik. Sarnaik is one of the MLAs who had joined the Eknath Shinde-led rebel Shiv Sena faction.

On Thursday, the accused in the case approached the special court under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) seeking to be released, stating that since the scheduled offence has been closed, proceedings in the ED case cannot continue. The accused also filed discharge applications seeking to be cleared of the charges in the ED case.

The EOW had in January filed a “C summary” closure report before the court stating that no criminality has been made out in the case. The metropolitan magistrate’s court accepted the report on Wednesday.

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Lawyer Kushal Mor, representing accused Marat Sashidharan, former MD of Tops, approached the special court on Thursday seeking not to extend his judicial custody further after the scheduled offence has been closed. He said that since the ED does not have the power to intervene in the closure report proceedings, there is no question of an appeal to be filed by the agency. Mor said that the accused will also not be challenging the closure order of the EOW and hence, the order has achieved finality.

Special Public Prosecutor Kavita Patil said that the ED would want to Sashidharan’s application and opportunity must be given to the agency.

Special Judge M G Deshpande said the accused’s custody can be extended till these issues are decided and directed the ED time to file a reply. It will hear the matter on September 21.

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The ED had alleged that Sarnaik had received kickbacks of over Rs 7 crore from Topsgrup for allegedly facilitating its contract of Rs 175 crore with the MMRDA. The contract for providing security guards at MMRDA was sub-contracted to Topsgrup.

First published on: 16-09-2022 at 03:23 IST
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