In a shock revelation, the prosecution informed a Mumbai court details about how lawyer Gunratan Sadavarte allegedly blew off nearly Rs 2 crore collected from the employees of Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC), here on Tuesday.
The fresh disclosures came during the hearing of a police application seeking fresh police custody for Sadavarte — currently in judicial custody, and the matter has been posted for Wednesday for arguments.
Making a forceful plea for Sadavarte’s police remand, Special Public Prosecutor Pradip Gharat said that a currency note counting machine has been recovered from the accused lawyer’s home, some three dozen incriminating documents and a green register detailing the manner in which the money would be collected from MSRTC’s 250 bus depots in the state.
Sadavarte was arrested soon after the April 8 attack on the residence of Nationalist Congress Party President Sharad Pawar along with over 115 MSRTC staffers and others from Pune and Nagpur involved in the incident.
Last week, Gharat made the sensational claim in the court of how Sadavarte allegedly collected over Rs 2 crore from around 95,000 MSRTC employees though he conveyed an impression that he was fighting their case free of cost.
The police investigations point to Sadavarte allegedly investing the collected monies in buying prime properties in Parel and Byculla besides a high-end vehicle worth around Rs 23 lakh.
As per the probe, around Rs 85 lakh was counted on the currency counting machine, an online bank payment was made to a Kerala dealer for the luxury vehicle which was delivered recently.
He also acquired the two Mumbai properties in the past few months which needed to be further investigated and hence his extended remand was required, SPP Gharat argued in the court.
The police also need to ascertain how the money collected from the MSRTC employees was actually utilised/diverted since at least one property mentions the name of the entire Sadavarte family.
In a related development, as per the orders of Bombay High Court, another group of around 300 MSRTC employees returned to work in Sangli — after remaining on strike from October 28, 2021 demanding a pay hike and merger of the transport entity with the state government.
While rejecting the merger demand, the Maha Vikas Aghadi government has warned that those staffers who took part in the attacks at the Pawar home would face dismissal from service, sending shockwaves among the MSRTC employees.
Meanwhile, a Kolhapur court has kept the anticipatory bail plea of Sadavarte — who is facing multiple cases in different parts of Maharashtra — for hearing on April 21.