The Enforcement Directorate (ED) probing charges of money laundering against former Public Works Department (PWD) minister Chhagan Bhujbal, his nephew Sameer, and 51 other associates and firms, has claimed in its charge sheet that from 2006 onwards, the Bhujbals and their associates laundered money to the tune of Rs4,264.25 crore.
ED’s charge sheet filed before a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court states that Chhagan Bhujbal laundered money to the tune of Rs291.71 crore, while Sameer and Pankaj had laundered Rs359.30 crore each since March 2006. ED states the money has been laundered from Mumbai using various fraudulent transactions, and that the agency’s probe of the entire proceeds of the money was in progress.
The Bhujbals have denied allegations against them in their statement to ED. While Chhagan Bhujbal has denied all allegations and said he was unaware of any transactions or of firms that were formed, Pankaj told ED it was his cousin Sameer who handled all the issues related to the companies.
Sameer, in his statement to the ED, claimed that since he was an active politician, he did not have the time to handle the issues related to the companies, and that all activities of the companies were carried out by Sunil Karve, the founding trustee and vice-chairman of Mumbai Educational Trust (MET), and chartered accountant for the Bhujbal companies, Sunil Naik.
However, the ED, in its charge sheet, stated that Chhagan Bhujbal was the mastermind of the scam, which dates back to as early as 1998 when Bhujbal was deputy chief minister. ‘He devised the entire methodology and scheme of things to defraud the state government by conceptualising and implementing a scheme where the Maharashtra Sadan / RTO project was awarded to M/s KS Chamankar Enterprises by misusing his official position and authority,’ reads the ED charge sheet.