In further setback to the Bhujbals, the enforcement directorate (ED) on Monday attached their Nasik properties — a sugar mill and 290 acres of land.
ED officers said that the property seized in the Bhujbals’ native town is worth Rs55 crore.
“Both the mill and the land are next to each other and are registered under the name of Chhagan Bhujbal and promoted by Armstrong Infrastructure,” said a high-ranking ED officer, who did not wish to be named.
Hindustan Times had first reported about ED’s plan to attach properties of the Bhujbals in Nashik in its February 24 edition. “The value of the properties chalked out by us is based on the general evaluation, and their market cost is much higher. The property attached is the proceeds of crime in the case,” said the officer.
Earlier, the central agency attached the land of Devisha Infrastructure valued at Rs160 crore and properties worth Rs110 crore of Parvesh Construction that includes a nine-storeyed building in Santacruz, where the family lives, and also an open plot in Bandra. The agency said these companies are promoted by the Bhujbals.
Sources from the ED said that the investigations into the matter are underway “to trace the colossal proceeds of crime that amounts to Rs 870 crore”. The central agency is in the process of scanning the property details. “We are investigating the property matter in detail for further attachments,” the officer said.
The ED had registered two separate cases under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in June last year, with the agency focusing on the “trail of the money” and “analysing the assets”.
The agency also arrested Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Bhujbal and his nephew Sameer in the case. Both are at present in judicial custody and are lodged at the Arthur Road jail.
According to ED sources, the probe revolves around Bhujbal’s tenure as the public works minister. While the ED has accused his nephew, Sameer, of ‘masterminding the scam’, they are also probing if he was influenced by the senior Bhujbal.