The ED on Thursday raided multiple locations in Maharashtra as part of a money laundering probe against state transport minister Anil Parab and others linked to alleged irregularities in a land deal in coastal Dapoli area of Ratnagiri district and other charges, officials said.
The federal probe agency has filed a fresh case against the minister and others under the criminal sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
At least seven premises, including Parab’s official residence in Mumbai, linked premises in Dapoli and Pune are being searched by the agency with a security escort provided by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).
It is understood that the minister was present at his residence during the raids.
Parab (57), is a three-time Shiv Sena legislator in the Maharashtra legislative council, the upper house of the legislature, and is the state transport and parliamentary affairs minister.
He is facing multiple charges of alleged irregularities and corruption that are understood to have formed the basis of the latest Enforcement Directorate (ED) case.
The first charge pertains to allegations of purchase of a parcel of land in Dapoli by Parab sometime in 2017 for a consideration of Rs 1 crore and it was registered in 2019.
It is alleged that the land was subsequently sold to a Mumbai-based cable operator Sadanand Kadam in 2020 for a consideration of Rs 1.10 crore.
In between, a resort was built on the same land from 2017 to 2020.
The Income Tax Department had made these allegations after it conducted raids in March against some people allegedly close to Parab like Kadam and deputy regional transport officer (RTO) Bajrang Kharmate.
The CBDT said in a statement issued in March, without taking any names, that the construction of the resort started in 2017 and over Rs 6 crore was spent in cash on construction of the resort.
“It transpires that the relevant facts about the construction of the resort were not intimated to the Registration authorities and accordingly, the stamp duty was paid only for the registration of the land on both the occasions i.e. in 2019 and in 2020,” it said.
Cost of construction of the same has not been accounted for either by the person searched (Kadam) or the politician (Parab) in their books of account, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the administrative body for the tax department, had said.
Another case in which Parab has been under the radar of the ED and was also questioned by the agency at its office in Mumbai in September last year pertains to the money laundering case linked to former home minister and NCP leader Anil Deshmukh.
Former police officer Sachin Waze, arrested by the National Investigation Agency in the case of recovery of an explosives-laden SUV near industrialist Mukesh Ambani’s house in Mumbai, had levelled certain allegations against Parab.
Waze had alleged in a letter, which he sought to submit before a court, that in January 2021, Parab asked him to carry out an inquiry against “fraudulent” contractors listed in the Mumbai civic body and “collect” at least Rs 2 crore from about 50 such contractors.
Parab had then rejected Waze’s claims and said he was ready to face any probe into the allegations.
Waze in his statement to the ED had claimed that Parab received crores as bribe from Kharmate for transfer of some police officers in Mumbai during 2020.
The Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government in the state is led by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. It was formed in 2019 after Thackeray’s party Shiv Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress joined hands to run the state.
These parties have alleged that central probe agencies, including the ED, have been targeting politicians and families from their parties at the behest of the BJP-led government at the Centre.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders have said that the agencies were doing their job independently and acting only on the basis of evidence.