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Money laundering case: Chhagan Bhujbal against ex-MET employees turning approvers

Bhujbal has called it a deal they have struck with the Enforcement Directorate (ED). 

mumbai Updated: Feb 18, 2017 00:27 IST
Charul Shah
Chhagan Bhujbal being taken to jail from Esplanade court on January 7.
Chhagan Bhujbal being taken to jail from Esplanade court on January 7. (HT FILE)

Former deputy chief minister and NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal has opposed the plea filed by two former employees of Mumbai Education Trust (MET), booked along with him in money laundering case, asking to turn approvers. Bhujbal has called it a deal they have struck with the Enforcement Directorate (ED). 

The two former employees of MET – Sudhir Salaskar and Amit Balraj — who are now listed as accused in the case, had on February 8, approached Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court expressing their desire to become prosecution witnesses. The special PMLA judge PR Bhavake had asked the prosecution and other accused to file their opinion of the plea. 

On Friday, Bhujbal’s lawyer Shalabh Saxena filed a reply to the plea saying that the two were absconding and did not even appear before the court for 10 months after which the court had issued non-bailable warrants against them. He is also alleged that the application was moved in connivance with the ED. 

“The accused have constantly avoided the court and provided no explanation for such conduct. It is further submitted that after unexplained delay, the accused appeared before the court under some arrangement with Enforcement Directorate, which was further substantiated by instant no objection by the counsel appearing for ED to the applications of the accused,” read an excerpt of the three-page reply filed by Saxena. 

Salaskar was employed with MET from 1999 as an electrician and later left in 2012 and Balraj, a software engineer joined, worked with the company from July 2003 to 2015. Both Salaskar and Balraj were allegedly made directors in various companies by Bhujbals. ED who investigated the case had claimed that the Bhubals had incorporated these companies for money laundering. 

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 11,000 pages alleged that from 2006, the Bhujbals and their associates laundered money to the tune of Rs 4,264.25 crore. The complaint further alleged that the former deputy CM laundered money to the tune of Rs 291.71 crore, while Sameer and Pankaj had laundered Rs 359.30 crore each. 

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