SIT set up to probe Sanjay Raut’s allegations against ED officials disbanded

Updated on Jul 06, 2022 06:36 PM IST
The SIT was formed after Raut alleged that South Mumbai businessman and bar owner Jitendra Navlani and three ED officials were running an ‘extortion racket’ targeting city businessmen
On Tuesday, the SIT was disbanded, stating that the Maharashtra Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) had already registered an offence in connection with the allegations in May (PTI)
On Tuesday, the SIT was disbanded, stating that the Maharashtra Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) had already registered an offence in connection with the allegations in May (PTI)
ByVinay Dalvi

Mumbai It has been a week since the regime changed in Maharashtra and the Mumbai police have already decided to disband the Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed to investigate Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut’s allegations that certain Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials collected money from city builders through a South Mumbai businessman.

The SIT was formed after Raut alleged that South Mumbai businessman and bar owner Jitendra Navlani and three ED officials were running an ‘extortion racket’ targeting city businessmen by offering them ‘protection from ED inquiries’ in lieu of money.

On Tuesday, the SIT was disbanded, stating that the Maharashtra Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) had already registered an offence in connection with the allegations in May.

On Wednesday, the Bombay High court bench of justice Nitin Jamdar and N R Borkar, that is hearing petitions filed by Navlani and ED, was informed by the Mumbai police that they have closed down the SIT after which the bench disposed of one of the petitions in the matter.

In March, Raut alleged that between 2015 and 2021, Navlani, a Colaba resident, had collected 58.96 crore on behalf of ED officials and the money had been taken in the name of consultancy fees or in the name of unsecured loans.

“A key name in this network is Jitendra Chandralal Navlani. He has seven companies in which funds have come from over 100 builders. The companies, which were under the ED probe, have transferred money to these seven companies. Navlani works for senior ED officials, including directors and joint directors,” Raut stated.

The allegations came at a time when two cabinet ministers in the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government – Anil Deshmukh and Nawab Malik - were arrested by the ED in connection with two different money laundering cases.

Following a formal complaint lodged by Lalbaug based Shiv Sainik, Arvind Bhosale the investigation, which was initially carried out by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Mumbai police, was later handed over to the Mumbai crime branch and a Special Investigation Team (SIT) was formed under the additional commissioner of police, Crime branch, Veeresh Prabhu, DCP, Zone IX, Manjunath Singe to look into the allegations.

Then home minister Dilip Walse Patil had in April himself announced formation of the SIT and the then Mumbai police commissioner Sanjay Pandey was himself monitoring the SIT’s probe. The team had recorded statements of several people and even checked several bank accounts and Call Details Record (CDR).

“Several businessmen probed by the ED were questioned by the SIT,” said a police officer.

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