The Enforcement Directorate (ED), invoking provisions of the Money Laundering Act, on Friday seized a plot owned by NCP leader and former Maharashtra PWD minister Chhagan Bhujbal's Devisha Constructions in the money-laundering case against him.
Claiming ignorance of the ED's actions, Bhujbal said: "I have no information on the ED's action on Friday. In fact, I do not own Devisha Constructions, my son Pankah and nephew Sameer are directors of the company."
The former minister is under the scanner for multiple cases of money laundering. The first case pertains to the Maharashtra Sadan scam and Kalindi land allotment issue. The second case, filed by 25-30 people against the Bhujbal family, pertains to a housing project that was to be built on the Navi Mumbai plot. Around 10% had been taken as advance from those who booked a flat in 2010 but no construction work has begun yet.
A Navi Mumbai resident said 2,300 people had booked a flat in Hex World, the housing project launched by Bhujbal's firm. The TOI quoted him as saying: "Everyone has paid almost the entire cost of the flat in the hopes that they will get possession within a certain timeframe. However, it now appears that the project has failed to take off. A criminal case has been registered at the Taloja police station against Pankaj and Sameer Bhujbal."
The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) had filed a case against Bhujbal and his family over financial irregularities, following which the ED filed two separate economic case information reports on 17 June. The criminal case at the Taloja police station followed.
The former minister said: "We have submitted all the documents sought by the ACB and the ED, and in future, too, we will cooperate with the investigating agencies."
Sixteen properties â€” seven properties in Mumbai, two in Thane, five in Nashik and two in Pune â€” were searched by the ACB in June to verify the assets owned by the Bhujbals in June.
The ED suspects that the minister is involved in illegal transactions worth Rs 900 crore, for which four individuals from a Singapore-based company, Armstrong Energy, have been summoned for questioning as Bhujbal's company had invested in it. Of the Rs 900 crore, Rs 44 crore is suspected to have been siphoned off from the Hex World project, reported Firstpost.