Chhagan Bhujbal & Co booked for disproportionate assets by ACB
Cracking a whip on the allegedly ill-gotten assets of former PWD minister and senior NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) yesterday registered a disproportionate assets case (DA) against him.
Former PWD minister Chhagan Bhujbal. File Pic
It also booked 11 others, including his wife Meena, son Pankaj, Pankaj’s wife, nephew Samir.
Apart from Bhujbal’s family members, others booked are Mumbai-based chartered accountant Sunil Naik, Kolkata-based chartered accountant Chandrashekhar Sarda, Hawala operator Suresh Jajodiya, finance consultant Sanjeev Jain, controllers of various companies of Bhujbals, Pravinkumar Jain, Jagdishprasad Purohit and CMD of Spenco Limited Kapil Puri.
According to the ACB, Bhujbal amassed disproportionate assets worth R204 crore during his tenure in the government.
Bhujbal was recently arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a money-laundering case in connection with various scams reportedly to the tune of R840 crore, including the high-profile Maharashtra Sadan scam in New Delhi.
Bhujbal and wife
ACB officials said Bhujbal and his wife, Meena, jointly amassed assets worth R1,49,65,801, which is 32% more than their known sources of income, during Bhujbal’s ministerial tenure in the government from April 1, 1999, to September 16, 2014.
They added that during the same period, Bhujbal allegedly amassed disproportionate assets worth R204.73 crore with the help of Pankaj, Samir, two chartered accountants, a hawala operator, a finance advisor and controllers of his various companies. Bhujbal allegedly generated these assets by fraudulently selling company shares and by giving huge sums of cash to his aides to get cheques from them to convert it into white money.
Son and daughter-in-law
His son, Pankaj Bhujbal (MLA), and his wife, Vishakha, jointly amassed assets worth R1,26,37,096 — 45.27% more than their known sources of income — during Pankaj’s tenure in the government from November 9, 2009 to March 1, 2015.
A senior ACB official said their DA case against the Bhujbals is based completely on the findings of the ED’s investigation into the money-laundering case.
Earlier, the ED had found that over a dozen companies based out of Kolkata had bought shares in companies fully owned and controlled by the Bhujbals on unrealistic premiums, which were later channelled through various companies to start projects.
The Kolkata companies were floated to reroute the bribes taken while awarding the contracts. The hawala operators took the cash and routed the bribes by floating these companies and buying the shares at high premiums. Bhujbal allegedly received kickbacks for favouring contractors for construction of the Maharashtra Sadan and the Kalina Central Library.