ED forms a four-member team
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has formed a four-member team to investigate the money-laundering allegations against members of Adarsh society, after the Bombay high court came down heavily on it for failing to proceed with the investigation.
Sources in ED claimed the agency was already conducting a preliminary investigation, but now a dedicated team has been appointed to speed up the investigation. Officials said that once the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) files a charge sheet in the case that will detail the monetary aspect of the scam, the probe would go faster.
The CBI is the main investigating agency in the case, but currently, only the ED, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence and the customs department can handle cases under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The ED has been handed over the money-laundering probe.
For investigation under the PMLA, it is necessary for the accused named in the first information report (FIR) by the main investigating agency to have at least one offence registered against him or her that is mentioned in the Act’s list of offences.
In the Adarsh case, the CBI has booked the accused under sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of properties) and 471 (using as genuine a forged document or electronic record) of the Indian Penal Code, all of which are mentioned in the PMLA’s offences list. The accused have also been booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act, also in the list.
The CBI’s FIR names 14 accused, including former chief minister Ashok Chavan.
Sources in ED said the agency is going through the sale transactions and trying to trace the source of the money paid by the purchasers. “Once we get concrete evidence of money-laundering, a case under PMLA will be registered and the accused will be summoned,” a source said.