The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has alleged that Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik has received kickbacks of over Rs 7 crore from Topsgrup for allegedly facilitating its contract of Rs 175 crore with the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA). The contract for providing security guards at MMRDA was sub-contracted to TopsGrup.
The ED had conducted searches at the residences and offices of Sarnaik and his son Vihang on Tuesday in connection with a money-laundering probe.
Sources said that Amit Chandole, director of Vihang Advertising and a close aide of Sarnaik, who was arrested by the ED late Wednesday, allegedly used to collect Rs 6 lakh every month from Topsgrup on behalf of Sarnaik.
Topsgrup, founded by Rahul Nanda, runs a security service across the country. Chandole is also on the board of several firms run by Sarnaik and his family.
The ED is investigating a money laundering case against the promoters of Topsgrup, a few related parties and Sarnaik. The ED case is linked to a October 28 FIR, lodged on the basis of a complaint filed by a former employee of Topsgrup, Ramesh Iyer, who has alleged that the company had cheated MMRDA of Rs 175 crore.
On Thursday afternoon, Chandole was produced before a special court designated under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and sent to ED custody till November 29.
While seeking Chandole custody for 10 days, Special Public Prosecutor Kavita Patil, appearing for the ED, submitted that his custody was required to probe alleged diversion of funds and to look into the quantum of the alleged proceeds of crime. It was also submitted that the facts Chandole had revealed in his statement to the ED also needed to be verified and probed further.
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