Stepping up its action against the Bhujbal family, the Enforcement Directorate has seized the passport of Pankaj Bhujbal, son of senior NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal, and has summoned him for questioning relating to a money laundering case registered against him and others.
Officials said the agency has taken the action of seizing the international travel document of Pankaj under relevant sections of the Passport Act and the summons for recording of his statement have been issued under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) recently.
“He has been summoned to appear before agency investigators in the coming week. He has been sent such summons earlier too but he did not come,” they said.
Pankaj, an MLA in the Maharashtra Assembly, has been also named in the criminal FIR filed by the agency which includes former PWD Minister Chhagan Bhujbal, other associates and entities and his nephew Samir, who was arrested by the ED in the same case.
The ED had conducted searches on at least nine premises, including properties and offices, belonging to the senior Bhujbal, Pankaj, nephew Samir and few others.
The NCP had then described the searches as “political vendetta”.
The agency’s action came days after the Bombay high court on January 28 sought progress reports from the Maharashtra Anti-Corruption Bureau and the ED in four weeks on their probe against Bhujbal and his family members.
The agency has filed two FIRs against the Bhujbals and others under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), based on the Mumbai Police FIRs, to probe the Delhi-based Maharashtra Sadan construction scam and the Kalina land grabbing case.
The agency has also brought out three property attachment orders worth over Rs 280 crore in this probe case under money laundering laws.
Government, in the last Parliament session in December, Government, in the last Parliament session in December, had said that PMLA investigations against Bhujbal and others have showed that entities which have subscribed to companies controlled by the politician’s family were “dubious” and their transactions were done only on paper.
Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha, in a written reply in Lok Sabha on December 18, had said a case has been registered by the ED against Bhujbal, his family members including MLA son Pankaj, ex-MP nephew Samir, a firm called Ms K S Chamankar Enterprises and others.
“Investigation conducted so far has revealed that the entities which have subscribed to the companies controlled by Bhujbals were dubious companies which existed only on paper and their transactions are not genuine transactions,” he had said.
The Bombay High Court, in December 2014, had constituted a Special Investigation Team comprising the ED Director and the Director General of state Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to conduct the inquiry against the politician and others and submit a report to it.
The Mumbai Police complaint names Pankaj and Samir and they had been booked under IPC Sections related to cheating, criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust and relevant provisions of Maharashtra Ownership Flats Act.