‘Following court orders, will cooperate with ED’: Mandakini Khadse’s lawyer on Pune land deal case

NCP leader Eknath Khadse’s wife Mandakini has been ordered by the Bombay High Court to appear before the Enforcement Directorate every Tuesday and Friday starting October 17 in the land deal case that was filed by an activist in 2017.
Advocate Mohan Tekavade (L) with NCP leader Eknath Khadse's wife, Mandakini Khadse (R) in Mumbai. (ANI Photo)
Advocate Mohan Tekavade (L) with NCP leader Eknath Khadse's wife, Mandakini Khadse (R) in Mumbai. (ANI Photo)
Updated on Oct 19, 2021 06:54 PM IST
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Written by Sharangee Dutta | Edited by Avik Roy, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

In the ongoing Pune land deal case, the lawyer of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Eknath Khadse’s wife Mandakini has assured cooperation in the probe carried out by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). “We are here at the ED office. Mandakini Khadse is also here. We are following court orders and will cooperate in the investigation,” advocate Mohan Tekavade told reporters, according to news agency ANI.

Last week, the Bombay high court granted pre-arrest bail to Mandakini and ordered her to appear before the ED every Tuesday and Friday till further orders. The court also asked the central probe agency to file a reply on Mandakini’s anticipatory bail application, before posting the matter for further hearing to December 7.

Pune-based activist Hemant Gavande filed a petition in 2017, alleging that Eknath Khadse bought a three-acre plot in Maharashtra Industrial Development Area in 2016 by misusing his position as the revenue minister in the then Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government in the state.

It is alleged Khadse manipulated the actual market price of the land, incurring the state exchequer a loss of 61.25 crore.

In August, the ED attached assets worth 5.73 crore belonging to Eknath Khadse, Mandakini, his son-in-law Girish Chaudhari, among others in the land deal case. The agency filed a chargesheet on September 4 this year in which it named three people along with sub-registrar Ravindra Muley and Benchmark Buildcon Private Limited.

The ED alleged that Chaudhari and Khadse bought the land for 3.75 crore when its actual price was 22.83 crore. Subsequently, Muley was taken into custody by the court.

The attached assets include one bungalow, three residential flats, seven land parcels worth 4.86 crore, and bank deposit to the tune of 86.28 lakh, according to ANI.

However, earlier this month, Muley was granted bail by additional sessions judge, HS Sathbhai. A special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court said that prima facie it doesn’t appear that the sale deal lodged in 2016 was undervalued to pay the stamp duty, Hindustan Times reported.

While Mandakini has been instructed to appear before the ED on Tuesday and Friday every week, the Bombay HC has exempted Eknath Khadse from any appearance in view of his poor health. In October, senior advocate Aabad Ponda and Swapnil Ambure sought for the exemption by informing the court that the NCP leader underwent surgery for grade-3 haemorrhoids in a Mumbai hospital.

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