Bhujbal Cases: ED Conducts Searches Across Mumbai, Questions Builders

Bhujbal Cases: ED Conducts Searches Across Mumbai, Questions Builders

The Enforcement Directorate, which has registered two cases against former Maharashtra minister Chhagan Bhujbal, today questioned a builders firm which was awarded the contract for construction of Maharashtra Sadan in Delhi, following searches in its premises.

The construction of Maharashtra Sadan was awarded to Chamankar Enterprises allegedly without following due process of law.

The firms and trusts controlled by Bhujbal and his family members allegedly received huge kickbacks out of the deal. The ED has booked Krishna, Pranita and Prassanna Chamankar in this case.

"We have questioned Chamankars after their four premises in Mumbai were searched by our officers," an ED source said requesting anonymity.

Questioning them is crucial in the case, sources said.

They also said that the premise of a person named Rajesh Mistry was also searched by the ED officials.

"We have recovered some documents from the premises," an official said.

The agency sources also said the searches conducted at the premises of Chamankar and Mistry led them to one person Yuvraj Shetty. Shetty had purchased shares of Pravesh Construction, which is run by Bujbals, at a very inflated rate in 2013.

"Shetty had registered four premises in one address, we have searched his premises as well", said an official.

The sources also said they have questioned Mistry and Shetty.

The ACB had found that after the contract was granted to Chamankar Enterprises, a huge amount of money was transferred from the partners of Chamankar Associates to firms directly or indirectly controlled either by Bhujbal or his family members.

Last week, the ED had registered two Enforcement Case Information Reports (ECIRs) under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against the NCP leader suspecting illegal transactions to the tune of Rs 900 crore in all, even as it summoned four individuals of a Singapore-based firm in which Bhujbal's company Armstrong Energy has invested.

The first case by ED pertains to the Maharashtra Sadan scam and Kalina land allotment case while the second case relates to a housing project at Navi Mumbai wherein its developer had allegedly collected 10 per cent of the flat's total cost as booking amount in 2010 but started no work.

Navi Mumbai Police, on June 13, had booked Bhujbal in the case involving an amount of Rs 44 crore. It concerns 2,300 people who had booked houses in the project 'Hex World' promoted by a realty company owned by the Bhujbal family at Kharghar, Navi Mumbai.

A group of 25-30 people, waiting for the housing project to take off for four years, had approached the court over the delay in its construction.

Earlier, ACB searched seven properties in Mumbai, two in Thane, five in Nashik and two in Pune to ascertain the assets owned by Bhujbal, his MLA-son Pankaj and nephew Sam.

In a related development on June 18, the Bombay High Court also directed the Maharashtra ACB to complete its investigation into corruption charges against Bhujbal, and submit the final report within two months. It has directed ACB to submit an interim report by July 22 and the final one by August 19.

The high court had on December 18, 2014, directed setting up of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) comprising ACB and ED to probe 11 allegations of irregularities relating to money laundering by private firms run by Bhujbal and his relatives.

SBG Cleantech will be a harbinger of solar and wind energy in the country and intends to participate in the 2015-16 round of solar power plant tenders under the NSM and state-specific solar programmes.

Besides this project, Masayoshi Son said, Softbank is exploring the possibility of manufacturing solar panels in India, which gets abundant sunshine and the cost of constructing solar parks is half that of Japan.

"With two times more sunshine and half cost of construction, making a solar park becomes four times more efficient. It makes business sense, economic sense and technological sense," he said.

It would take two years to start the project from the time of land allocation, he said.

"We can manufacture solar equipments here in India. It will reduce one third logistics cost if we manufacture and assemble in India. With Foxconn participation we will also create some kind of manufacturing capacity here in India," he added.

The project is looking at significant amount of debt from Japanese financial institutions, which have endorsed the project, Mittal said.

Son said that a Japanese government related bank is "making strong participation" and other Japanese commercial bank have indicated that they will participate in this project fund.

"Bharti investment will be significant minority stake but it will depend upon debt to equity ratio that are being finalised. Massive debts are available for this project," Mittal said.

Bharti Enterprises, the parent company of India's biggest telecom company Bharti Airtel, had previously formed a 50:50 joint venture with SoftBank, Bharti SoftBank. It recently acquired 36.5 per cent stake in ScoopWhoop, an Indian-focused media startup.

Bharti SoftBank also owns Hike Messenger, an Indian app that allows users to exchange texts and images via the Internet on their smartphones.

In January, Hike bought US startup Zip Phone, which allows users to make and receive calls through the Internet.

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