NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal and his associates allegedly sent Rs 30 crore to Singapore to set up companies there, sources in the Enforcement Directorate (ED) said on Tuesday.
“We are conducting financial investigations in a case registered under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), 1999. Investigations are on pertaining to the source of money and how it is being spent. Some companies have been formed in Singapore, for which Rs 30 crore was remitted,” said a high-ranking ED officer, who did not wish to be named.
The revelation coincided with sweeping raids by the Anti-Corruption Bureau’s special investigating team on 16 properties owned by Bhujbal, his son, nephew and other relatives.
The raids revealed that Sukhada Apartments at Sir Pochkhanwala Road in Worli, right opposite the ACB’s headquarters, is just one among the many sprawling properties the NCP leader and his family own.
The ACB raids also found that Bhujbal owns a 65-acre property in Lonavala with a six-bedroom bungalow embellished with imported furniture, decorated with antique statues, and equipped with a swimming pool and a helipad.
ACB officials also raided a plush bungalow worth Rs 100 crore in Nashik, called Bhujbal Farm. Measuring 46,500 square feet, it has 25 rooms, a swimming pool and a gymnasium. “We are preparing a list of all the properties and assets,” said a high-ranking ACB officer.
ACB sources said that despite the raids, no arrests are imminent. “No arrest is needed now; we are investigating,” added the officer. The ACB will now seek an explanation from Bhujbal on how he was able to afford the various properties, sources said.
In December 2014, the high court gave the ACB its go-ahead to conduct an inquiry against Bhujbal, following which a special investigation team was set up. The team has since recorded the statements of Bhujbal, his nephew Sameer and son Pankaj.
The Bhujbals are facing a string of corruption allegations. The cases include the redevelopment of Maharashtra Sadan, the state’s guest house in Delhi. It is alleged that the contract for its redevelopment was not advertised; instead, the contractor allegedly sub-contracted it to companies owned by Bhujbal's relatives and friends.
In another case, Chhagan Bhujbal and five others allegedly caused huge losses to the state by illegally leasing a prime plot at Kalina in Santacruz (East), meant for a library, to a private developer.
The Navi Mumbai police have also registered a case against the Bhujbals based on a complaint by Chembur resident Yunus Shaikh, who alleged that he and others were cheated by the Bhujbals in connection with a housing project at Kharghar.