SRA 'scam': ED searches properties of Baba Siddique, others
The Enforcement Directorate's (ED) Mumbai unit officials on Wednesday conducted searches at multiple properties belonging to Congress leader and former MLA Baba Siddique and others, in connection to an alleged slum rehabilitation authority (SRA) scam.
ED's action pertains to an FIR lodged in 2014 regarding alleged financial irregularities in the redevelopment of a slum in Bandra West. The central agency lodged an FIR on the instructions of a magistrate court against Siddique and eight others, including Rafique Maqbool Qureshi and Najmuddin Mithi Borwala of Pyramid Developers for their involvement in the alleged irregularities worth hundreds of crores in the project. Siddique was the chairman of the Mumbai division of MHADA when the alleged scam occurred. Searches were conducted at seven locations, as ED also suspects shell companies were used for the alleged irregularities.
The whistleblower of the entire scam is a local activist who had filed a complaint claiming that many slum dwellers in Bandra had forged their documents to fraudulently obtain more than one room in the SRA buildings, said an ED official. Pyramid Developers supposedly carried out these irregularities, which were regarding approval from the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority and increased Floor Space Index. ED sources claimed that the Congress leader allegedly sold SRA flats to prominent people, including a few film stars.
Meanwhile, Congress termed the ED's actions as, "nothing but vendetta politics". "A case was filed against Siddique and 157 others. The state police and ED found nothing. This is clearly vendetta politics," said Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant on Twitter. "A pattern can be seen in which opposition is being harassed through ED or CBI. Government [is] trying to damage image and suppress voice of [the] opposition. It is a tactic to divert attention from govt failures and scare opposition. But we will not deter and keep raising our voice for the people," he added.
2014 Year the FIR was lodged against Siddique and others
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