The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday said it has attached assets worth Rs 5.73 crore of former Maharashtra minister and NCP leader Eknath Khadse and his family in a money laundering case. The attachment has been done in a case of “criminal misconduct by a public servant”.
“The attached assets include immovable properties worth Rs 4.86 crore and bank balance of Rs 86.28 lakh,” the agency said in a statement.
The ED is probing Khadse in an alleged land grab deal of 2016 in Pune.
Khadse, 68, left the BJP to join the Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) late last year and he has been questioned by the ED in this case in the past.
The case stems from a Pune police anti-corruption bureau (ACB) FIR filed against Khadse, his wife Mandakini and son-in-law Girish Chaudhari, in April 2017.
The agency claimed that alleged irregularities in the land deal caused a loss of Rs 61.25 crore to the exchequer “by fraudulently entering into a sale deed”.
The plot, owned by state-run MIDC, under the scanner is located in the Haveli Taluka of Bhosari, a suburb of Pune district and it bears the survey no 52/2A/2. Chaudhari was also arrested by the ED in the past.
The ED had earlier issued a statement to describe the alleged role of Chaudhari in the deal, saying “with the connivance of others, he knowingly entered into a sale deed to acquire the said land despite the land belonging to the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) to avail a compensation more than 2.5-3 times of the actual value of land”.
“The land was registered at a much lower rate of only Rs 3.75 crore against the prevailing value of Rs 31 crore,” it had claimed.
The ED said the probe found that the accused “claimed the source of fund to purchase the said property as loan from some companies”.
“However, it is revealed that these funds were layered and routed through shell companies, which are either dysfunctional or struck off (from the government record books) later on,” it alleged.
Khadse, the then state revenue minister, had resigned from the Devendra Fadnavis-led Maharashtra Cabinet in 2016 after facing allegations regarding the same land deal and some other issues.
It was alleged that he misused his official powers to facilitate this deal.
The NCP leader had denied any wrongdoing saying that the state police ACB, as well as the Income Tax Department, had given him a clean chit in the matter.