The Enforcement Directorate (ED) will produce Sameer Bhujbal, the arrested former MP and nephew of former Maharashtra deputy chief minister and NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal, in a Mumbai court on Monday. The ED will in court seek extension of his custody, according to an official familiar with the developments in the case.
Sameer was arrested by ED on February 1 under Section 19 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and remanded in custody till February 8.
Meanwhile, the agency has summoned Pankaj Bhujbal, son of Chhagan Bhujbal in the case. The agency has also seized his passport to ensure that Pankaj does not leave the country to “stall investigation”, said an ED official who did not wish to be named. “This is the third time we have summoned Pankaj Bhujbal, in case he fails to appear before ED we may move court to obtain a non-bailable warrant against him,” the official said.
Chhagan Bhujbal is currently in the United States and is expected to come back soon said sources. The ED has alleged that Bhujbals have “played a crucial role in laundering huge amounts of money and not coming out with true facts” in a scam where the state exchequer has lost Rs 870 crore. The ED has alleged that the books of accounts of some of the firms controlled by Bhujbals reflect unexplained transactions which, the agency suspects, are nothing but “kickbacks received by the Bhujbals”.
“It is alleged that the Bhujbals accepted cash in lieu of projects to contractors, channelled such illegal cash into various companies and integrated it into business activities of the group companies,” said the remand copy submitted by ED in the court after arresting Sameer Bhujbal.
On June 17, 2015, the ED filed a case under the PMLA against Chhagan Bhujbal and his kin for money laundering. This was after the ACB searched 26 properties of Chhagan Bhujbal as part of its investigations into alleged irregularities in the award of contracts when he was deputy CM and PWD minister.