ED registers 2 cases against Bhujbal, NCP leader rejects

Chhagan Bhujbal
In mounting trouble for NCP leader and former Maharashtra Public Works minister Chhagan Bhujbal, the Enforcement Directorate today registered two Economic Case Information Reports (ECIR) against him and others under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The registration of ECIR came a day after the state Anti-Corruption Bureau conducted searches at various properties belonging to Bhujbal and his family members in Nashik, Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai.

"We have registered two ECIRs against Bhujbal and others under the provisions of PMLA," an ED source told PTI.

The first ECIR pertains to the Maharashtra Sadan scam and Kalina land allotment case while the second ECIR 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 source said.

Bhujbal denied the allegations against him.

"The speed at which the investigation is going on, it is very good. What should I say about it? One after the other wrong allegations are levelled against me," he said.

"Wrong information against me is given to the media. My political opponents who have a selfish motive come up with some wrong information against me every day," he added.

The Navi Mumbai police, on Saturday, had booked Bhujbal in the case involving an amount of Rs 44 crore. It concerns 2,300 people who had booked houses in the project 'Hex World' promoted by a realty company owned by the Bhujbal family at Kharghar, 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.

The FIR, filed at the Taloja Police Station in Navi Mumbai, named Bhujbal, his son Pankaj, and nephew Samir in the case. They were booked under IPC sections related to cheating, criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust and relevant provisions of Maharashtra Ownership Flats Act.

Last week, the Maharashtra Anti-Corruption Bureau had registered two FIRs against Bhujbal, the first related to alleged irregularities in allotment of a prime plot at Kalina in Mumbai to a developer.

The second case was in connection with alleged rampant corruption and large-scale irregularities in the construction of the new Maharashtra Sadan, the state government's guest house in Delhi.

The Public Works Department under Bhujbal had allegedly awarded sub-contracts to firms in blatant violation of rules in the Maharashtra Sadan case. The FIR named him, his son Pankaj, nephew Samir and 14 others.

The new Maharashtra Sadan was built at the cost of Rs 100 crore when Congress-NCP coalition was in power in Maharashtra.

Yesterday, ACB searched seven properties in Mumbai, two in Thane, five in Nashik and two in Pune to ascertain the assets owned by Chhagan Bhujbal, his son, MLA Pankaj Bhujbal and nephew Samir.