The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has booked 14 people, including former chief minister (CM) Ashok Chavan and municipal commissioner Jairaj Phatak, under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) for their alleged involvement in the Adarsh co-operative housing society scam.
“An ECIR (Enforcement Case Information Report) was registered against 14 people under PMLA on March 5. They have also been named as accused by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in their FIR,” ED counsel RV Desai told the Bombay high court on Monday.
The ECIR states that these public servants obtained property rights over high-value flats at a very low price. Also, they got the flats allotted and registered in their names or in the name of their relatives by making “such payments through loans/savings thereby projecting the tainted property as untainted”.
“Prima facie, this constitutes an offence under section 3 of PMLA,” says the ECIR filed by ED assistant director NP Khutal and deputy director Nilkanth Shelke.
A division bench of justices SA Bobade and Mridula Bhatkar were hearing petitions filed by social activists Pravin Wategaonkar and Simpreet Singh seeking the registration of an FIR by the CBI and ED. They also want the high court to supervise the investigation being carried out by the central agencies.
After Justice Bobade asked the ED when it would register an FIR in the case and arrest the accused, Desai said it was waiting for the CBI to complete its investigation and submit its charge sheet. “After that the ED will decide on filing a formal FIR and arresting the accused,” Desai said.
The CBI told the court that it would complete its probe by June 15 and file its charge sheet thereafter.
The judges also asked the CBI and ED to file their replies to an April 26 affidavit filed by Wategaonkar alleging that Union minister Vilasrao Deshmukh owns two proxy flats in Adarsh. He has demanded a probe against Deshmukh, former CM Sushilkumar Shinde and former collector of Mumbai IA Kundan. The agencies have been asked to file an affidavit by June 18.
A division bench of justice SJ Vazifdar and justice AR Joshi admitted a petition filed by the defence ministry seeking the demolition of the 31-storey Adarsh building as it poses a security threat to the defence installations near the structure. The high court kept the petition for final hearing after the summer vacation.