Chhagan Bhujbal case: HC asks ACB to complete probe in 2 months
Mumbai: Disapproving the state Anti Corruption Bureau having already taken over six months to probe allegations of money laundering and land grabbing against former Maharashtra minister Chhagan Bhujbal, the Bombay High Court today directed the ACB to complete its investigation and submit a final report within two months.
A division bench headed by Chief Justice Mohit Shah was informed by acting Advocate General Anil Singh that the ACB has registered two FIRs against NCP leader Bhujbal and his family members in the Maharashtra Sadan scam and Kalina land grabbing case.
Another case has been registered by the 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 on December 18, 2014, directed setting up of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) comprising ACB and Enforcement Directorate (ED) to probe 11 different allegations of irregularities relating to money laundering by private companies run by Bhujbal, his sons and relatives.
The direction was passed on a PIL filed by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) seeking registration of FIR against Bhujbal.
"You (ACB) had six months to probe the allegations. The petitioner had submitted sufficient material to start inquiry. All that you (ACB) had to do was verify the material submitted by the petitioner," the court said.
Advocate General Singh informed the court that the 11 allegations submitted by the petitioner have been brought down to nine by the ACB.
"FIRs in three allegations have been filed. Probe into the remaining six allegations are on. A lot of material has been found during the probe involving money transactions from Singapore which includes companies across the country. The ACB in sincerely probing the case," he said.
The court directed the ACB to submit an interim report by July 22 and a final report after completion of the investigation by August 19.
The court also noted that the Enforcement Directorate shall also go ahead with its probe expeditiously.
The ED had yesterday registered two Economic Case Information Reports (ECIR) against former PWD minister Bhujbal and others under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
The petitioner's counsel, Anil Anturkar, argued that when an FIR has been lodged and enough material has been found against Bhujbal and his family, custodial interrogation is mandatory.
Last week, the ACB had registered two FIRs against Bhujbal. The first 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 allegedly awarded sub-contracts to firms in blatant violation of rules in the Maharashtra Sadan case.
The FIR named Bhujbal, his son MLA Pankaj Bhujbal, 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.