Former Deputy Chief of Maharashtra Chhagan Bhujbal has presented himself before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the alleged multi crore Maharashtra Sadan scam.
The agency is probing the role of the NCP leader in a money laundering case registered by it earlier this year.
According to sources, Chhagan Bhujbal has been joined by his lawyer for the questioning.
Around 11 am when the NCP leader arrived at the agency’s headquarters located at Ballard Pier office in South Mumbai, a sizeable number of party workers started sloganeering outside the office. The police have detained the workers.
Anticipating protest by the party workers, the Mumbai Police has issued prohibitory orders under the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure prohibiting assembly of more than five people in and around the premises of the agency.
Last week ED has summoned Chhagan Bhujbal to be present on March 14 in connection with the case.
Sameer Bhujbal, his nephew, was arrested by ED on February 1 under Section 19 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA)
Last month, the ED questioned Chhagan Bhujbal’s son Pankaj Bhujbal in the case. The agency has also seized his passport to ensure that Pankaj does not leave the country.
The ED has alleged that Bhujbals have “played a crucial role in laundering huge amounts of money and not coming out with true facts” in a scam where the state exchequer has lost Rs 870 crore. The ED has alleged that the books of accounts of some of the firms controlled by Bhujbals reflect unexplained transactions which, the agency suspects, are nothing but “kickbacks received by the Bhujbals”.
The ED has alleged that Bhujbals accepted cash in lieu of projects to contractors and “channelled such illegal cash into various companies and integrated it into business activities of the group companies”.
On June 17, 2015, the ED filed two FIRs under the stringent PMLA against Chhagan Bhujbal and his son and nephew for money laundering. This was after the ACB searched 26 properties of Chhagan Bhujbal as part of its investigations into alleged irregularities in the award of a contract of over Rs 100 crore for three projects in 2006 when Bhujbal was deputy CM and PWD minister.
The contract which was given to M/s Chamankar Developers included construction of Maharashtra Sadan in Delhi, a new Regional Transport Office (RTO) building in Andheri, and a state guest house at High Mount, Malabar Hill, Mumbai. It is alleged the contracts were awarded without following rules and that, in return, firms and trusts controlled by the Bhujbal family received kickbacks.