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Probe against Chhagan Bhujbal: ACB chargesheet likely to be filed in a month

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A charge sheet is likely to be filed within a month against NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal for alleged misappropriation of funds and land grabbing, the Maharashtra Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on Thursday informed the Bombay High Court.

A division bench of Justices V M Kanade and Revati Mohite Dere today sought progress reports from the ACB and the Enforcement Directorate in four weeks on their probe against Bhujbal and his family members. It also said that in such cases where the allegations are serious and levelled against people holding important positions, monitoring is necessary.

The court was on Thursday informed that the ACB is likely to file the charge sheet in a month against Bhujbal, in two FIRs lodged by it against him and his family members in the Maharashtra Sadan scam and Kalina land grabbing case.

The ED informed the court on Thursday that it has registered two Economic Case Information Reports (ECIR) against Bhujbal under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), but it can go ahead with the probe and file FIR only after the ACB files its chargesheet. The ACB further informed the court that in three allegations against Bhujbal, the agency has not found any material that discloses FIR.

Another case was registered by Navi Mumbai police concerning a housing project scam wherein Rs 44 crore were collected from over 2,000 people for houses in a project ‘Hex World’, promoted by a realty firm owned by the Bhujbal family.

The High Court had in December 2014 directed setting up a Special Investigation Team (SIT), comprising ACB and ED officials, to probe into 11 different allegations of irregularities relating to money laundering by private companies run by Bhujbal, his sons and relatives. The direction was passed in a PIL filed by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) seeking registration of FIR against Bhujbal.

The ACB had in June last year registered two FIRs against Bhujbal. The first one was related to alleged irregularities in allotment of a prime plot at Kalina in Mumbai to a developer. The second case was for alleged rampant corruption and large-scale irregularities in the construction of the new Maharashtra Sadan, the state government’s guest house in Delhi.

The Public Works Department under Bhujbal had then allegedly awarded sub-contracts to firms, in blatant violation of rules, in the Maharashtra Sadan case. The FIR named him, his son Pankaj, nephew Samir and 14 others. The new Maharashtra Sadan was built at the cost of Rs 100 crore when the Congress-NCP coalition was in power in Maharashtra.

PTI

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