Maha Sadan scam: ACB files FIR against Bhujbal

Maha Sadan scam: ACB files FIR against Bhujbal

In a major embarrassment for Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Maharashtra police’s Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) booked former deputy chief minister Chhagan Bhujbal and five others in connection with the Maharashtra Sadan scam.

The development comes just days before the two-day national convention of the NCP scheduled in Patna.

A senior OBC leader, 67-year-old Bhujbal was Deputy Chief Minister and Public Works Department (PWD) minister for a long time.

Bhujbal, also president of Akhil Bharatiya Mahatma Phule Samata Parishad, started his political career with the Shiv Sena, but switched over to Congress and then NCP, when the latter was formed. He also held portfolios like home and tourism.

Besides Bhujbal, FIR were registered against then sub-divisional engineer Gajanan Sawant,  executive engineer Harish Patil, superintendent engineer with the PWD Anil Kumar Gaikwad and secretaries with PWD Sanjay Solanki and M H Shah.

Former AAP leader Anjali Damania had approached the Bombay High Court seeking action against Bhujbal, while BJP leader Dr Kirit Somaiya had directly lodged a complaint with the ACB.

The case has been lodged under the provisions of section 13 (1) (c) (d) (criminal misconduct by a public servant and fraudulently misappropriating for personal use any property entrusted to him) along with sections 420 (cheating), 465, 468, 471, 474 (using forgery for purpose of cheating) 477 a (falsification of accounts), 120 (criminal conspiracy), and 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code, according to ACB officials.

Damania said in her plea that Bhujbal’s family members received kickbacks after awarding construction contracts for projects including the new Maharashtra Sadan in New Delhi, and sums of money were credited to the account of the family-owned Bhujbal Charitable Trust.

Dr Somaiya had also made similar allegations, and was made an intervener in the matter. During Bhujbal’s tenure, the then Congress-NCP government had awarded contracts for Maharashtra Sadan in New Delhi, residential quarters for Regional Transport Office in suburban Andheri among other projects.

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