These are just some of the properties owned by former Deputy CM Chhagan Bhujbal and his family that the ACB found out about in raids carried out by 16 teams yesterday; officials from the bureau said completing the searches will take 2-3 days
In a state where buying a house remains a dream for most people, former deputy chief minister Chhagan Chandrakant Bhujbal and his family own at least 17 flats, six bungalows and a 1.8 hectare farmhouse property some of them equipped with helipads, swimming pools and gyms in Mumbai, Pune and Nashik, which can fetch them crores of rupees annually in rent alone.
Chhagan Bhujbal addressing the media yesterday. His son and wife own two flats spread over the entire 5th and 7th floors of Manek Mahal in Churchgate
And this could be just the tip of the iceberg, according to ACB officials. This was revealed when around 16 teams of the Anti-Corruption Bureau carried out searches at properties owned by Bhujbal and his family members yesterday in connection with the alleged irregularities in awarding contracts in the New Maharashtra Sadan scam, Nashik-Mumbai Toll Road and the Kalina University scam.
The former deputy CM owns a 2,000-sq ft flat in Sukhada Co-operative Society in Worli. Pics/Shadab Khan
Two FIRs have already registered against Bhujbal and 14 other bureaucrats and private persons, and ACB officials say the former deputy CM could be arrested soon. Bhujbal’s son Pankaj and nephew Sameer were also named in the Maharashtra Sadan FIR.
The ACB could not complete the raids yesterday and around 16 teams from all units of the bureau were still calculating the value of the properties and checking the papers found by them. Sources said completing the raids could require two to three more days.
More to come?
ACB officials said that most of the documents, important papers, cash, gold, and details of bank lockers had been moved by the Bhujbal family, as they had already got a hint that raids could be conducted. They said that, thus, they couldn’t find many documents, but whatever they found was enough to prove the former PWD minister guilty of corruption charges.
Bhujbal, who is a senior leader of the Nationalist Congress Party, is presently an MLA from Yeola in Nashik, and his son Pankaj is an MLA from Manmad. Bhujbal is known for his devil-may-care working style, which had reportedly caught the eye of the anti-corruption agencies
Sources also pointed out that, following the raids, Bhujbal could be arrested anytime now as he has already been questioned several times by the ACB. The bureau has already carried out searches at the properties of other officials involved in the scams and had seized cash and gold and bank lockers, and this was also likely in the case of Bhujbal.
The ACB said that several properties were in the name of Bhujbal’s son Pankaj and nephew Sameer, daughter-in-law Vishakha and mother Hirabai, and they could also be named accused in disproportionate assets and other cases.
“All these properties were purchased around 30 to 40 years back when their prices were very less. Some of them are ancestral properties which were passed on to me. I am cooperating with the investigating agencies and I am sure I will come out clean. Also, the two decisions for which FIRs have been registered against me are decisions taken by the committee of ministers and not me alone,” said Bhujbal.