The Enforcement Directorate is on the lookout for a man who could play a key role in the probe against the company owned by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray’s brother-in-law in a money laundering case. The alleged operator of shell companies, Nandkishor Chaturvedi, has been off the agency’s radar for the last many months. The ED had also earlier communicated to Chaturvedi to get his statement recorded.
Maharashtra state spokesperson of BJP Madhav Bhandari said, “ED started the investigation in the year 2017. Shiv Sena was sharing power with BJP during that period. They were silent on this topic. Now suddenly they are trying to make this thing political for their own benefits. They should separate every criminal investigation from a political point of view.”
In September 2017, the ED had arrested Chandrakant Patel of Pushpak Bullion, Mumbai, for allegedly purchasing 285 kilograms of gold post-demonetisation, with laundered money. In November 2017, the ED had provisionally attached the immovable and movable properties of Pushpak Bullion to the tune of Rs 21.46 crore belonging to Mahesh Patel, Chandrakant Patel, their family members and companies controlled by them.
On March 6, 2017, the agency had recorded a money-laundering case against Pushpak Bullion and other companies of the Pushpak Group, under the PMLA, for allegedly laundering money in the post-demonetisation period.
The ED investigation has revealed that Mahesh Patel had siphoned off and layered funds of a Pushpak group concern, M/s Pushpak Realty, in connivance with Nandkishore Chaturvedi (accommodation entry provider).
Union MSME Minister Narayan Rane said to wait and watch what unfolds ahead, while his MLA son Nitesh Rane dropped hints seeking the CM’s resignation after the ED attached properties of a company allegedly owned by Shridhar Madhav Patankar, Thackeray’s brother-in-law.
Rejecting outright the MVA’s charges, Leader of Opposition Devendra Fadnavis reiterated that the probe agencies are merely doing their job with no interference or influence to expose corruption at all levels.
BJP activist and ex-MP Kirit Somaiya warned to expose at least half-a-dozen more ‘corrupt ministers’ of what he alleged were the ‘Maha Vasooli (extortionist) Aghadi’ 3-party alliance and other scams involving important leaders.
Mohit (Kamboj) Bharatiya vowed more fireworks to expose more misdeeds of the MVA bigwigs and certain bureaucrats of their purported financial misdoings and investments in properties in the US.
The ED said it has attached immovable properties worth around Rs 6.45 core belonging to Pushpak Group’s entity, Pushpak Bullion, in Thane. These included 11 flats in the Neelambari realty project of Thane, which the ED said, belongs to Shree Saibaba Grihanirmiti Pvt Ltd owned and controlled by Patankar – the brother-in-law of CM Thackeray and brother of his wife Rashmi Thackeray.
According to ED officers, shell companies who channel the unaccounted income back into the books of accounts of business establishments by disguising it as loan or share capital provide accommodation entries. This is a widely used method by tax evaders.
NCP spokesperson Clyde Crasto told Afternoon Voice, “We cannot comment much on this issue as the investigations are still going on but every individual having a little knowledge about politics, they know how the Central government is misusing the power of investigative agencies where they are not in power.”
Keshav Upadhyay of the BJP said, “Indulging in corruption misusing the political influence is not new for Shiv Sena. The investigation is going on in 2017. Questioning the work of investigation agencies is a trend now. They cannot blame BJP or central government for their wrongdoing.”
Sachin Sawant, General secretary of the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress said, “ED investigation on chief minister’s brother-in-law BJP has to behave like underworld do we can see that. In Ed’s 2005 Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) data Sachin Sawant Tweeted, “This data of ED raids will be more interesting if we winnow it down to how many of them are from the opposition during 2014 and 2022. Sure, not a single one would be from BJP.”