With his name figuring in the charge sheet, former chief minister Ashok Chavan would now have to face an inquiry by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) that is investigating the Adarsh housing society scam under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The ED could issue summons to Chavan to record his statement in connection with the payments made for two flats that are in the names of his late mother-in-law Bhagwati Sharma and sister-in-law Seema Sharma. The CBI is also investigating Chavan over allegations of owning a benami flat.
The ED, which had on March 15 registered a Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) against all the 14 persons named in the CBI first information report (FIR), including Chavan, has so far issued summons to nine of the accused who were arrested and later released on bail. Some of them have already been questioned by the ED.
Chavan and four others were not arrested and hence the ED was reluctant to issue summons to them. “He [Chavan] could now be brought under the purview of the inquiry, and could also be issued summons,” an ED official said, refusing to specify when the summons would be issued.
However, among the four arrested, names of two former defence officers — Brigadier (retd) PK Rampal and Brigadier (retd) RC Sharma — were dropped from the CBI charge sheet for lack of evidence. The ED would not issue summons to these two.
ED sources said that along with Chavan, the remaining two others — former bureaucrat Subhash Lala and Col (retd) TK Sinha — could also be summoned.
Sources said that ED would now speed up its investigation in the PMLA case, as the charge sheet has been filed. “We would soon obtain copy of the charge sheet and study the payment pattern of the accused that the CBI has found so far,” the official said.
Sources said that ED’s investigation in any case moves faster only after the concerned investigating agency, that first registers a case, files charge sheet even though it (ED) registers a case in the early stages.
“After registering the ECIR we conducted a preliminary probe. Now the charge sheet is filed, we would study the payment details of the accused and take the case further from there,” the official said.