The anti-corruption bureau (ACB) has found that several firms in Kolkata, which were said to have invested in companies allegedly promoted by the Bhujbals and their associates, are bogus.
A team from the city was in Kolkata recently to verify the address of the companies, whose names cropped up during the ongoing probe by the special investigating team (SIT) of the anti-graft body in connection with the Maharashtra Sadan case.
“Investigations have revealed that most of the firms in Kolkata that invested in the companies promoted by the Bhujbals, including Parvesh Construction Pvt Ltd, Armstrong Energy Pvt Ltd and Hingora, are bogus,” said a high-ranking ACB officer, who did not wish to be named.
Sources from the ACB revealed that the addresses of most of the companies in Kolkata did not exist and they may be shell companies used for money laundering. “Shares were purchased by these companies at inflated rates. In view of the findings, the Bhujbals may face a case for disproportionate assets,” the source added.
According to the FIR in the Maharashtra Sadan case, the NCP leader’s son, Pankaj, and nephew, Sameer, are the directors of Parvesh Construction Private Ltd and Armstrong Energy. Bhujbal, his family and associates are facing charges of corruption and money laundering.
One of the allegations probed by the ACB and the enforcement directorate (ED) include the kickbacks received in cash converted through the maze of the Kolkata-based companies, amounting to money laundering in Armstrong Energy Pvt Ltd (Rs49.20 crore) and Parvesh Constructions Pvt Ltd (Rs58.38 crore), the total amount at Rs107.58 crore. These findings will be incorporated in the charge sheet to be filed this month.
The NCP leader and his family are in for further trouble as the ED is likely to attach their properties. Apart from the Maharashtra Sadan revamp case, the Bhujbals are facing FIRs in the Kalina land deal and Kharghar housing project cases.
In 2014, the government gave the ACB a go-ahead to conduct an inquiry against Bhujbal. The ACB has since recorded the statements of
Bhujbal, Pankaj and Sameer.