ED raids, books Sena min; 3rd in Maha Cabinet to face action

1 month ago 38

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MUMBAI: The Enforcement Directorate has filed a case of money laundering against senior Shiv Sena minister Anil Parab and carried out raids on premises in Mumbai, Pune and Dapoli in Ratnagiri which are linked to him and two business associates. Parab is the third minister in the Maharashtra cabinet to be booked under the stringent Prevention of Money Laundering Act, the other two being NCP leaders Anil Deshmukh and Nawab Malik who are both in jail.
The money laundering case against Parab, a three-time legislator and now transport minister in the coalition cabinet, pertains to a land deal and construction of a resort in seaside Dapoli in violation of environment rules.
Parab was present at his official bungalow at Nariman Point during the search. ED officials recorded his statement over eight hours before leaving around 8 pm. Soon after, Parab left to meet chief minister Uddhav Thackeray. Parab, a close aide of the CM, has been under the scanner of the investigating agencies for some time following complaints by BJP leaders.

Parab claimed the ED had taken action for sewage flowing into the sea from a closed resort in Dapoli. He said there was no connection with any kind of money laundering to this action. Parab said the resort in Dapoli was owned by Sadanand Kadam and the ED had used violations under Environment Protection Act linked to the flow of untreated sewage water into the sea from the Dapoli resort as a predicate offence (mandatory for registering a money laundering case) against him.
Last year, the ED investigated Parab in a corruption case involving former NCP minister Anil Deshmukh after dismissed police officer Sachin Waze claimed he overheard that both had collected money from police officers for favourable postings. The ED had recorded Parab’s statement in the case but didn’t find any substantial evidence against him.
A few months ago, the Income Tax (I-T Investigation) wing had investigated Parab and claimed to have found evidence that Rs 6 crore in unaccounted cash was spent on the construction of the resort at Dapoli. Parab said he had not spent the money. “I did not give Rs 6 crore for the construction. This is all planted in the news. All questions asked by the ED were answered. The answers have already been given before and all the answers were given even today. Where does the issue of money laundering come from? I am cooperating with the ED, if they ask more questions we will give all the answers. We will take legal recourse,” Parab said.
The case primarily relates to the purchase of agricultural land which is under restricted Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ)-III category at Dapoli and converting it for residential-commercial purposes by constructing a resort illegally in violation of environmental norms. The Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change had filed a complaint against Parab before a magistrate court in Dapoli under CrPC section 190 seeking permission to try Parab for violating conservation rules. Under the CrPC section 190, the magistrate can take cognizance of an offence. The complaint is pending before the court and based on it the ED had registered the money laundering case against him for investigation.

“Today, the ED officials have raided me and places linked to me. Dapoli's Sai Resort belongs to Sadanand Kadam. This he has already claimed in court and he has submitted all the documents also. The resort is not even open yet. However, the Union Environment Ministry has registered a complaint alleging that sewage water from the resort was flowing into the sea. The ED has raided premises linked to me considering that as a predicate offence. Today’s action was about this. If the resort is shut, I don’t know what action they are taking,” Parab said.
The raided premises include Parab’s family home at Bandra East, his official bungalow at Nariman Point, his business partner Sadanand Kadam’s premises and house of Vibhas Ranjan Sathe in Pune from whom Parab had purchased the land for Rs 1 crore. Afterward Parab reportedly sold the land for Rs 1.1 crore to Kadam who constructed Sai Resort.
BJP leaders, including former MP Kirit Somaiya, had complained to various central government agencies demanding action against Parab. Parab had filed a defamation suit in the Bombay high court against such allegations saying his name was being dragged into controversy with ‘ulterior motives’. The BMC election is scheduled in the next few months and Parab is a key figure involved in poll strategy. Shiv Sena has been controlling the BMC for over two decades, but faces a tough contest against BJP this time.
The controversy
-Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Chang...

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