Money laundering case: ED questions Pankaj Bhujbal in Mumbai

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) today questioned senior NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal's son Pankaj for almost eight hours here in a money laundering case registered against him and others in connection with the construction of the new Maharashtra Sadan in Delhi and another case.

Officials said investigators recorded his statement under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) after Pankaj reached the agency's office in the Ballard Estate area here in the morning hours.

Emerging out of the ED office after about eight hours of questioning, he told waiting reporters that he has been cooperating with the agency and will continue to do so.

ED had issued summons to Pankaj sometime ago and it had also seized his passport then.

The officials said he was confronted with a number of documents and financial records which the agency had seized earlier in the case including the testimonies given by other accused.

Sources indicated that the junior Bhujbal could be asked to "join investigations again".

Pankaj, an MLA in the Maharashtra assembly, has been named in the FIR filed by the agency, besides his father and former state PWD minister Chhagan Bhujbal, other associates and entities and his nephew Sameer, who was arrested by ED in the same case earlier this month.

ED had twice conducted searches at about a dozen premises, including properties and offices, belonging to the senior Bhujbal, Pankaj, Sameer and few others.

The senior Bhujbal, who arrived in Mumbai today from the US, also sought to deflect the blame of any irregularities in these cases, as he told reporters that all his decisions were taken with the then Chief Minister's consent.

The agency's action in the case has come days after the Bombay High Court on January 28 sought progress reports from the Maharashtra Anti-Corruption Bureau and ED in four weeks on their probe against Bhujbal and his family members.

The agency has filed two FIRs against the Bhujbals and others under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), based on a clutch of Mumbai Police FIRs, to probe the Maharashtra Sadan construction scam and the Kalina land grabbing case.

It has also brought out orders for attachment of movable and immovable properties with an estimated worth of over Rs 280 crore in the case under money laundering laws.

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