Bhujbal to be produced in court; ED to seek custody

RSTV Bureau
Enforcement Directorate arrested former deputy CM of Mharashtra Chhagan Bhujbal on March 14, 2016 in connection with a corruption case.

Enforcement Directorate arrested former deputy CM of Mharashtra Chhagan Bhujbal on March 14, 2016 in connection with a corruption case.

The Enforcement Directorate will seek custody of former Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal to question him further in the money laundering case related to the Maharastra Sadan scam. Bhujbal who was arrested on Monday evening will be produced in a Mumbai court later today.

According to an ED official, Bhujbal was arrested under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) after he allegedly refused to cooperate during the 10-hour questioning on Monday. The agency has also recorded his statement in the case.

Meanwhile Maharashtra Assembly witnessed uproar by Congress and NCP members over Bhujbal’s arrest on Tuesday morning. The Opposition raised slogans to protest against the BJP led government, forcing the Assembly to adjourn for ten minutes.

Earlier, the Congress and NCP legislators staged a protest on the steps of Vidhan Bhawan’s main entrance. They carried placards decrying the “fascist government” for arresting the senior NCP leader and shouted slogans condemning the “vendetta politics”.

On Monday morning the NCP leader had appeared before the Enforcement Directorate in Mumbai and was questioned regarding the case.

A large number of party workers who had gathered outside the ED office raised slogans when Bhujbal and MLC Jitendra Awhad arrived at the ED office in South Mumbai. Tight security along with prohibitory orders were in place to avoid any untoward incident.

The agency recorded his statement in the case under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The ED had registered a PMLA case involving the Bhujbals and some of their associates and has already arrested the ex-minister’s nephew Samir last month in the case.

Samir Bhujbal is currently lodged in the high security Arthur Road jail here.

The ED had also questioned Bhujbal’s son Pankaj in the same case last month.

The agency has filed two FIRs against the Bhujbals and others under the provisions of PMLA, based on Mumbai Police FIRs, to probe the Delhi-based Maharashtra Sadan construction scam and the Kalina land grabbing case.

It had also brought out orders for attachment of three properties with an estimated worth of over Rs 280 crore in the case under money laundering laws.

ED had twice conducted searches at nine premises, including properties and offices, belonging to the senior Bhujbal, Pankaj, Samir and few others.

NCP had then described the searches as “political vendetta”.

The state Anti-Corruption Bureau has already filed a charge sheet against Chhagan Bhujbal, Pankaj, Sameer and 14 others in the Maharashtra Sadan scam case.

The new Maharashtra Sadan was allegedly built for Rs 100 crore when Congress-NCP coalition was in power in Maharashtra.

(With inputs from PTI).