ED questions Bhujbal in corruption cases

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Mumbai, March 14 (IANS) Former Maharashtra deputy chief minister Chhagan Bhujbal was questioned here on Monday by a team of Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials in connection with corruption cases lodged against him.

The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader was accompanied by senior party colleague Jitendra Awhad, several legislators and a large number of party activists from Nashik. They raised slogans hailing Bhujbal as he entered the ED office.

Police deployed tight security in the vicinity of the ED office.

The ED had summoned Bhujbal on March 8 following a complaint by Bharatiya Janata Party MP Kirit Somaiya in connection with cases lodged under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and Foreign Exchange Management Act pertaining to alleged irregularities in the construction of a new ‘Maharashtra Sadan’ in New Delhi, worth several hundred crores of rupees.

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The ED had on February 1 arrested Bhujbal’s nephew Sameer Bhujbal. Later last month, it questioned Bhujbal’s son Pankaj Bhujbal, a legislator.

Bhujbal and his party, the NCP, have termed the ED’s actions a “political vendetta”.

The ED’s probe follows a Bombay High Court ruling in January when it sought progress reports from the Maharashtra Anti-Corruption Bureau and the ED within four weeks on their investigations against the Bhujbals.

Following Somaiya’s complaints, the ED had lodged two first information reports (FIRs) against the Bhujbals and others under the PMLA to probe the Maharashtra Sadan scam in New Delhi and the Kalina land grabbing scam in Mumbai.

Awhad told reporters that the NCP, including its president Sharad Pawar, stood behind Bhujbal.

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