Post 10-hour marathon grilling, ED arrests Chhagan Bhujbal
The officials of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) yesterday arrested former deputy chief Minister of Maharashtra and NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal after grilling him for over 10-hours in connection with his alleged involvement in various scams reportedly to the tune of R840 crore, including the high-profile Maharashtra Sadan Scam in New Delhi.
Bhujbal waves at supporters before entering the Enforcement Directorate office yesterday. Pic/Datta Kumbhar
Former Member of Parliament (MP) Bhujbal has been arrested for money laundering under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and will be produced in the special PMLA court today.
Bhujbal, who was served summons last week, had arrived at the ED’s Ballard Pier head office on Monday at 11am. During the first few hours, the senior NCP leader thought that he would be allowed to go home by ED officials after a couple of hours of questioning, however, his grilling session lasted for over 10 hours. ED Sources said that Bhujbal was not co-operating with the investigators.
At around 10 pm last night, ED officials placed him under arrest and informed his family members about his arrest. He was kept at the ED’s lockup in the same building.
The ED investigators believe that Bhujbal and his relatives accepted cash for awarding projects to the contractors, and then channelled the kickbacks via various companies owned by them into the group companies.
ED sources said that during Monday’s grilling sessions, dozens of questions were thrown on Bhujbal about the transferring of funds, sanctioning of contracts and irregularities pertaining to the Maharashtra Sadan Scam, Andheri RTO land allotment and a Kalina land grabbing.
“Bhujbal was asked questions based on the revelations and findings that cropped up in the statement and interrogations of his nephew Sameer Bhujbal, who was earlier arrested by ED under PMLA on February 1 and is presently in judicial custody,” an ED officer said. Bhujbal’s son Pankaj Bhujbal, a legislator, was also questioned last month.
The agency had in past informed the court that existing and former directors of Origin Infrastructure, Niche Infrastructure, Devisha Infrastructure and Parvesh Constructions mentioned in their statements that they were mere faces for those firms, which were actually controlled by the Bhujbals. They all stated that Bhujbals had the last say in matters pertaining to the affairs of these companies.
He has been arrested under Sections 3 and 4 of PMLA.
Keshav Upadhye, Spokesperson, BJP
Our government has a zero tolerance for corruption. ED’s action against Bhujbal proves our promise of taking action against corruption and irregularities. The law will take its own course.
Preeti Sharma Menon, Spokesperson, AAP
Bhujbal has been arrested by ED, which was working on a PIL filed by AAP in 2014. Cynics told us the arrest won’t happen but AAP provided knowing evidence in the money laundering.
Nawab Malik, Spokesperson, NCP
This is vendetta politics. There was no need to arrest Bhujbal when he is ready to co-operate with ED. This is an attempt to prove allegations by hook or by crook. Bhujbal will come out clean from courts.