Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) legislator Ramesh Kadam, accused of siphoning off Rs 141 crore from a state-run body, was arrested from a five-star hotel on the Pune-Ahmednagar road in an early morning swoop by the CID on Monday.
Kadam, working as chairman of the government-run Annabhau Sathe Development Corporation (ASDC), allegedly transferred the funds to organisations headed by him. The money, according to CID officials, was meant for the welfare of backward communities for whom the corporation was set up.
The CID launched a massive hunt for Kadam on July 20, a day after he was booked for his alleged involvement in the scam. Following his arrest at the Grand Hyatt, CID took Kadam to Navi Mumbai for further investigation.
The charges against Kadam include illegally sanctioning Rs 41 crore to Joshaba Central Cooperative Society, an organisation controlled by him.
Kadam, the legislator from Mohol in Solapur, also allegedly sanctioned Rs 58 crore to set up a spinning mill in Aurangabad. The investigation revealed the mill was controlled by him.
Several transactions made by Kadam on behalf of ASDC caused the corporation huge financial losses, according to the FIR filed against the MLA.
CID chief Sanjay Kumar earlier told Hindustan Times that the total amount involved in the scam may be higher than Rs 141 crore. “The investigation till now suggests the scam is worth Rs 141 crore. However, we are confident it will deepen further as we proceed with our probe,” he said.
Several teams were formed to nab Kadam, whose detractors in the NCP had alleged the MLA was hiding with the support of senior party leaders.
The probe against Kadam began last year when the Congress-NCP alliance was in power in Maharashtra and the current BJP government handed it over to the CID.
Kadam is the latest in the long list of NCP leaders against whom the government has launched inquiries. The OBC face of NCP, Chhagan Bhujbal, former deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar, and the party’s state unit chief, Sunil Tatkare, are under the Anti-Corruption Bureau’s scanner.