ED summons PCN leader Eknath Khadse and arrests his son-in-law in money laundering case
The Law Enforcement Directorate ordered NCP chief Eknath Khadse to appear before the agency on Thursday at 11 a.m. in connection with a money laundering investigation into the alleged land grab. by the government in Pune from 2016. The financial investigation agency also obtained custody of Khadse’s son-in-law. Girish Chaudhari, who was arrested yesterday. He was taken into custody until July 12 after being presented to a Money Laundering Prevention Act (PMLA) court in Mumbai on Wednesday.
The federal investigative agency said Chaudhari was arrested in the wee hours after being questioned at length about the case since Tuesday at the central investigative agency’s office in south Mumbai.
Officials alleged that Chaudhari did not cooperate during the interrogation and was therefore placed under arrest so that he could be questioned in custody.
Khadse, 68, left the BJP to join the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) of former Maharashtra chief minister Sharad Pawar last year.
The ED case stems from an FIR from the Pune Police Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) filed against Khadse, his wife Mandakini and Chaudhari in April 2017.
The agency claimed that the alleged irregularities in the land deal caused a loss of â¹61.25 crore at the chessboard “by fraudulently concluding a deed of sale”.
The land, owned by the MIDC, managed by the state, under the scanner is located in the Haveli Taluka of Bhosari, a suburb of the district of Pune and bears the record No. 52 / 2A / 2.
Khadse was questioned in this case by the ED for about six hours in January this year and his statement was recorded.
The agency released a statement describing Chaudhari’s alleged role in the deal, claiming that “with the connivance of others, he knowingly entered into a deed of sale to acquire said land despite the land belonging to Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) to benefit from compensation greater than 2.5 to 3 times the real value of the land “.
âThe land was registered at a much lower rate of only â¹3.75 crore against the current value of â¹31 crore, âhe said.
The investigation revealed that the accused “claimed the source of the funds to purchase said property in the form of a loan from certain companies”.
“However, it is revealed that these funds were overlaid and channeled through shell companies, which are either dysfunctional or removed (from government records) later,” he said.
Khadse, then state revenue minister, had resigned from the Maharashtra cabinet headed by former chief minister Devendra Fadnavis in 2016 after facing allegations of the same land deal and other issues.
It has been alleged that he abused his official powers to facilitate this deal.
Khadse denied any wrongdoing, saying the state police ACB as well as the Income Tax Department gave him a good shot in the case.
The case dates back to May 2016, when Pune-based businessman Hemant Gawande filed a complaint with the Bund Garden Police Station in the city.
The businessman alleged that Khadse abused his power as minister and bought land belonging to MIDC in the Bhosari region on behalf of his relatives in â¹3.75 crore against a market price of â¹40 crores.
Based on the complaint, ACB Pune subsequently registered an FIR against the three members of the Khadse family and the original landowner, Abbas Ukkani, under various articles of the Prevention of corruption and section 109 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The ACB, in April 2018, submitted a 22-page report to a Pune court following the investigation. PTI NES KJ
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