Maharashtra Sadan case: ACB files chargesheet against Chhagan Bhujbal

The Maharashtra Anti-Corruption Bureau, probing the Maharashtra Sadan scam, on Wednesday filed its charge sheet against senior NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal in a court in Mumbai.

Other than Bhujbal, who was Public Works Department minister in the previous Congress-NCP government in Maharashtra, his son Pankaj and nephew Sameer as well as 14 others have also been chargesheeted in the case. The voluminous chargesheet, which runs into 20,000 pages contains statements of 60 witnesses.

Chhagan Bhujbal

According to ACB sources, the case is entirely based on documentary evidence such as fund transfer and bank transactions. Sources also claimed that in construction of Maharashtra Sadan, contractors have earned 80 per cent profits while as per the government circular such contractors are entitled to only 20 percent gains.

"However, books of accounts have been fudged to show that the profit earned is only one percent," they added. The ACB had in June last year registered two FIRs against Bhujbal. The first one was related to alleged irregularities in allotment of a prime plot at Kalina in Mumbai to a developer.

The second case was for alleged rampant corruption and large-scale irregularities in the construction of the new Maharashtra Sadan, the state government's guest house in New Delhi.

The Public Works Department under Bhujbal had then allegedly awarded sub-contracts to firms, in blatant violation of rules, in the Maharashtra Sadan case. The FIR named the Bhujbal trio and 14 others.

The other accused who were named in the FIR were: Arun Deodhar, Devdutt Marathe, Bipin Sankhe, Krishna Chamankar, Pranita Chamankar, Tanvir Sheikh, Sanjay Joshi, Manik Shaha, Deepak Deshpande, Anil Kumar Gaikwad, Pravina Chamankar, Prasanna Chamankar, Iram Tanvir Sheikh and Geeta Joshi.

The state ACB had initiated a probe against Bhujbal and his family following a complaint lodged by Aam Aadmi Party leader Anjali Damania, who had alleged that there had been rampant corruption and large-scale irregularities in the construction of the new Maharashtra Sadan.

According to Damania, the Public Works Department, under Bhujbal, had awarded sub-contracts to firms in blatant violation of rules. All these firms were floated or controlled by the members of the Bhujbal family.

The new Maharashtra Sadan was built at the cost of Rs 100 crore when Congress-NCP coalition was in power in Maharashtra.

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