Bhujbal case: Engineering and construction major under ED scanner

Bhujbal case: Engineering and construction major under ED scanner

After it registered two cases against former NCP minister Chhagan Bhujbal under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), the Enforcement Directorate will now probe the role of an engineering and construction giant which was roped in by the state government and Chamankar Enterprises for construction of the Maharashtra Sadan building in New Delhi.

Sources in ED also said that Chamankars, whose statements were recorded by the agency yesterday, have given information about the money trail involved in the case.

"We will probe the role of a major engineering and construction (firm) with whom Chamankars (the builders of Maharashtra Sadan) and the state government had entered into an agreement for construction of the building in New Delhi," an ED official said today, adding that the firm will be named as accused if a case is made out against them.
The contract for construction of Maharashtra Sadan was awarded to Chamankar Enterprises, allegedly without following the due process of law.

The firms and trusts controlled by Bhujbal and his family members allegedly received huge kickbacks out of the deal.

Sources said today the Chamankars have given information about the money trail involved in the case.

"They have given us workable information about the money trail," an ED official said without elaborating.

The agency had yesterday recorded statements of Krishna, Pranita and Prassanna Chamankar of Chamankar Enterprises in connection with the case following searches on their premises.

ED had also conducted searches at four companies, located in premises of Belapur in Navi Mumbai and questioned one Yuvraj Shetty, who allegedly had purchased shares of Pravesh Construction, which is run by Bhujbals, at a very inflated rate in 2013.

The agency sources today said these companies were actually run by a Chartered Accountant.

Interestingly, the ED official said, the directors were appointed by the CA on a monthly salary of Rs 2,000 and their job was to sign the papers at his instructions.

Last week, the ED had registered two Enforcement Case Information Reports (ECIRs) under PMLA against the NCP leader suspecting illegal transactions to the tune of Rs 900 crore in all, even as it summoned four individuals of a Singapore-based firm in which Bhujbal's company Armstrong Energy has invested.

The first case by ED pertains to the Maharashtra Sadan scam and Kalina land allotment case while the second case relates to a housing project at Navi Mumbai wherein its developer had allegedly collected 10 per cent of the flat's total cost as booking amount in 2010 but started no work.

The Anti-Corruption Bureau, which is probing allegations of money laundering and land grabbing against Bhujbal, had found that after the contract was granted to Chamankar Enterprises, a huge amount of money was transferred from the partners of Chamankar Associates to firms directly or indirectly controlled either by Bhujbal or his kin.

Earlier this month, the Navi Mumbai Police had booked Pankaj and Sameer Bhujbal, the son and nephew respectively of the NCP stalwart.

The case pertains to alleged cheating in the construction of a proposed residential project 'Hex World' at Kharghar in Navi Mumbai.

A group of 25-30 people, waiting for the housing project to take off for four years, had approached the court over the delay in its construction.

Earlier, the ACB had searched seven properties in Mumbai, two in Thane, five in Nashik and two in Pune to ascertain the assets owned by Bhujbal, his MLA-son Pankaj and nephew Sameer.

In a related development, the Bombay High Court on June 18 had also directed ACB to complete its investigation into corruption charges against Bhujbal, and submit the final report within two months. It has directed ACB to submit an interim report by July 22 and the final one by August 19. 

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