The Bombay High Court on Thursday decided to review the investigation being carried out against former state minister Chhagan Bhujbal and his relatives for alleged misappropriation of funds and land grabbing every four weeks. The Maharashtra Anti-Corruption Bureau is hearing cases levelled against the former minister as levelled by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
During the hearing, the ACB informed Justice V M Kanade and Justice Revati Mohite Dere that they would need two more months to look into all the allegations.
The investigation agency is probing nine allegations against the politician and his relatives. Of the total, investigation was stopped in connection with three allegations and one allegation required probe by CBI, informed the ACB lawyer.
The ACB lawyer also said that the Revenue and Forest department has looked into one allegation, completed its inquiry and reserved its order.
The court was also informed of the ACB having “almost” completed inquiry into three allegations and require a month to file its chargesheet.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED), on the other hand, informed that the HC that it requires four months from the time the ACB finishes investigation and hands over the chargesheet to complete their investigation as stipulated in the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.
Appearing for AAP, which had levelled the allegations against the minister, senior counsel Gayatri Singh sought copies of ACB reports in relation to the three allegation inquiries, which were stopped.
Prasad Dhakephalkar, senior lawyer, appearing for Bhujbal, objected to the proposition saying the petitioners accusing them of doing so because of “political vendetta”.
The HC, while posting the matter for four weeks later, asked Singh to inform on the next occasion the provision under which such a proposition could be made. Directing the agencies to expedite the investigation, the HC said, “The matter is in the interest of the public at large. People have the right to know.”
The AAP in its Public Interest Litigation (PIL) had alleged that as public works department minister, Bhujbal favoured a contractor M/s Chamankar Enterprises to rebuild Maharashtra Sadan in Mumbai and Delhi at Rs 100 crore. The PIL also alleged that between February 12, 2010 and January 20, 2012, Rs 74.10 lakh was given by Chamankar Enterprises to Ideen Furniture, whose directors are Vishaka Bhujbal and Shefali Bhujbal, wives of Bhujbal’s son Pankaj and nephew Sameer.