The Enforcement Directorate on Tuesday, 22 March, provisionally attached the immovable properties belonging to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray's brother-in-law Shridhar Madhav Patankar.
The immovable properties, worth Rs 6.45 crore, were attached in the case of M/s Pushpak Bullion, one of the group companies of Pushpak Group. The attachment includes 11 residential flats in the Neelambari Project, Thane, belonging to Shree Saibaba Grihanirmiti Pvt Ltd.
Shree Saibaba Grihanirmiti Pvt Ltd is owned and controlled by Patankar. The ED is further investigating the matter.
Reacting to the raid, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said the ED had been taking 'tremendous' actions in states where the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was not in power.
"Shridhar Madhav Patankar is our family member, his relation is not limited to Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray. ED has been taking tremendous actions in states where BJP is not in power," Raut was quoted as saying by ANI.
"Looks like ED has closed its office in other big states, like Gujarat. Everything is happening in Maharashtra. Mamata Banerjee's nephew Abhishek Banerjee is also being harassed. But neither Bengal will bow, nor Maharashtra will break [sic]," he added.
Abhishek Banerjee, the Trinamool Congress MP and nephew of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, on Monday, 21 March, had joined the investigation in a money laundering case pertaining to the alleged coal scam being probed by the ED.
"Maharashtra's public knows well about the Thackeray family... this is a dangerous start of dictatorship. Winning in 4 states doesn't make you the ruler of the country. We're ready to go into jails, but we're also ready to fight for freedom for this country's democracy," Raut added.
Meanwhile, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar said the ED was being misused.
"Central agencies being misused for political interests. Till a few years ago, most people didn't know about ED, but today it's being misused so much that even people in villages know about it," he was quoted as saying by ANI.
More About the Case
The Enforcement Directorate informed in a statement that it had earlier recorded a money laundering case against Pushpak Bullion and group companies on 6 March 2017, under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002, and had already provisionally attached immovable and movable properties of Pushpak Bullion to the tune of Rs 21.46 crore belonging to Mahesh Patel, Chandrakant Patel, their family members, and the companies controlled by them.
"Subsequent investigation revealed that Mahesh Patel had siphoned off and layered funds of Pushpak group concern M/s Pushpak Realty in connivance with Nandkishore Chaturvedi (Accommodation Entry provider)," the ED said.
"M/s Pushpak Realty Developer in the garb of sale transferred funds to the tune of Rs 20.02 Crore to the entities controlled by Nandkishore Chaturvedi after layering it through various connected and unconnected entities," the ED added.
Nandkishore Chaturvedi, who operates a number of shell companies, further transferred the money through his shell company M/s Humsafar Dealer Private Limited in the garb of extending unsecured loans in excess of Rs 30 Crore to M/s Shree Saibaba Grihanirmiri Pvt Ltd.
The money siphoned off by Mahesh Patel in connivance with Nandkishore Chaturvedi was parked in the real estate projects by Shree Saibaba Grihanirmiti Pvt Ltd, the ED informed.