Two former employees of Mumbai Education Trust (MET) — who were booked along with former deputy chief minister and NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal and his nephew in the money laundering case — have approached the court to turn approvers.
Sudhir Salaskar and Amit Balraj — who are now listed as accused in the case — had on February 8, approached the court wanting to become prosecution witnesses. The special PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act) judge PR Bhavake then asked the prosecution and other accused to file a response on the plea.
Salaskar was employed with MET from 1999 as an electrician and had quit in 2012. While Balraj, a software engineer, joined MET in July 2003 and quit in 2015. Both Salaskar and Balraj were allegedly made directors in various companies by the Bhujbals. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) who investigated the case had claimed that the Bhubals had incorporated these companies for laundering money.
In the two three-page long applications filed through advocate Rizwan Merchant, Salaskar and Balraj have stated that the ED had recorded their statement as prosecution witnesses. “The accused were treated as witnesses of the prosecution. While filing complaint before the court, however, they were named as accused,” read the application. The two have pleaded that they would like to ‘disclose true and correct facts’ before the court as prosecution witnesses and have sought pardon from the case for disclosing the facts.
Salaskar and Balraj are listed in the complaint filed by ED as accused in the case of money laundering by Bhujbals. The agency had in June 2015 filed a complaint before the PMLA court against 53 accused. The ED has in its complaint running into more than 11000 pages alleged that from 2006 onwards, the Bhujbals and their associates laundered money to the tune of Rs 4,264.25 crore. The complaint further alleges that Chhagan laundered money to the tune of Rs 291.71 crore, while Sameer and Pankaj had laundered Rs 359.30 crore each.