In what could spell more trouble for NCP leader and former Maharashtra minister Chhagan Bhujbal, the Enforcement Directorate is likely to file an Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) Wednesday in connection with the alleged irregularities in the construction of Maharashtra Sadan building in New Delhi. ED was part of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) constituted by the Bombay High Court to probe the matter.
An ECIR is equivalent to an FIR filed by a police agency under the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC). “After the Bombay High Court passed an order to file a case against Bhujbals, we sought a copy of the case filed by the Maharashtra Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB). After studying the same and comparing with the evidence collected by us we have decided to filed an ECIR by Wednesday,” a senior officer from the ED told The Indian Express.
The ECIR will be filed under certain provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering (PMLA) Act and the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).
“Our findings are based on the I-T returns of the firms, details with the Registrar of the Companies (ROCs) and bank accounts that were available. A few lakh rupees have been allegedly received by Mr Bhujbal, which are not explained and this needs to be probed further,” the official said.
The agency has so far found that between 2007 and 2011 Bhujbal’s son Pankaj and nephew Sameer were directors in Parvesh Construction Pvt Ltd, a firm which executes redevelopment projects in Mumbai. The company sold shares worth Rs 100 each for a premium of Rs 9,900, thereby raising Rs 65 crore.
“We suspect these shares were purchased by shell companies, which were floated to pay kickbacks. Similarly, in the case of Armstrong Energy Pvt. Ltd, both the cousins continue to remain as directors to this date but they have failed to explain the source of Rs 60 crore. We suspect these too were ‘kickbacks’ that were received through a maze of companies that were floated,” said a source who has knowledge of the transactions.
The probe will focus on whether Bhujbal awarded the construction work of the said building to Chamankar Enterprises, which was allegedly owned by his ‘associate’, for Rs 52 crore.
“K S Chamankar of the Chamankar Enterprise had subsequently awarded sub-contracts to Origin Infrastructure Private Ltd, Niche Infrastructure Private Ltd, whose directors were employees of MET and Ideen furniture whose director is Mr Bhujbal’s daughter-in-law Vaishali Bhujbal,” the source said.
The ACB, meanwhile, conducted searches Tuesday at 25 properties owned by the Bhujbal family across the state.