The non-bailable warrants issued against Pankaj Bhujbal, son of former public works department (PWD) minister Chhagan Bhujbal, and others in connection with a money-laundering case on Wednesday will help ensure a speedy trial, claim enforcement directorate officials.
According to ED sources, the accused are likely to be arrested soon. “We had defined the role of individuals in our charge sheet. The court will decide who should be arrested based on their role in the case,” said a high-ranking ED officer, indicating Pankaj may be in trouble.
It may be recalled Pankaj was the only one who was let off after the ED questioned him on February 9 this year. The ED had placed Bhujbal Chhagan and his nephew Sameer under arrest after questioning them for a day.
“The warrants and the subsequent arrests will strengthen our case. It will ensure the accused don’t tamper with the evidence,” said the officer.
He added, “If a summons is issued instead of a warrant, the accused can ignore it, forcing the authorities to issue multiple summons. This delays the trial further.”
The ED alleged in its complaint, which runs into more than 11,000 pages, that from 2006, the Bhujbals and their associates laundered money to the tune of Rs4,264.25 crore.
The agency claims Chhagan Bhujbal laundered Rs291.71 crore, while his nephew Sameer and son Pankaj laundered Rs359.30 crore each. The money-laundering allegations pertain to the redevelopment of the Maharashtra Sadan guest house in New Delhi, the construction of an RTO in Andheri and other dubious projects.