ED raids, books Sena min; 3rd in Maha Cabinet to face action | India News

MUMBAI: The Enforcement Directorate has filed a case of money laundering against senior Shiv Sena minister Anil Parab and carried out raids on premises in Mumbai, Pune and Dapoli in Ratnagiri which are linked to him and two business associates. Parab is the third minister in the Maharashtra cabinet to be booked under the stringent Prevention of Money Laundering Act, the other two being NCP leaders Anil Deshmukh and Nawab Malik who are both in jail.
The money laundering case against Parab, a three-time legislator and now transport minister in the coalition cabinet, pertains to a land deal and construction of a resort in seaside Dapoli in violation of environment rules.
Parab was present at his official bungalow at Nariman Point during the search. ED officials recorded his statement over eight hours before leaving around 8 pm. Soon after, Parab left to meet chief minister Uddhav Thackeray. Parab, a close aid of the CM, has been under the scanner of the investigation agencies for some time following complaints by BJP leaders.
Parab claimed the ED had taken action for sewage flowing into the sea from a closed resort in Dapoli. He said there was no connection with any kind of money laundering to this action. Parab said the resort in Dapoli was owned by Sadanand Kadam and the ED had used violations under Environment Protection Act linked to the flow of untreated sewage water into the sea from the Dapoli resort as a predicate offence (mandatory for registering a money laundering case) against him.
Last year, the ED investigated Parab in a corruption case involving former NCP minister Anil Deshmukh after dismissed police officer Sachin Waze claimed he overheard that both had collected money from police officers for favorable postings. The ED had recorded Parab’s statement in the case but didn’t find any substantial evidence against him.
A few months ago, the Income Tax (IT Investigation) wing had investigated Parab and claimed to have found evidence that Rs 6 crore in unaccounted cash was spent on the construction of the resort at Dapoli. Parab said he had not spent the money. “I did not give Rs 6 crore for the construction. This is all planted in the news. All questions asked by the ED were answered. The answers have already been given before and all the answers were given even today. Where does the issue of money laundering come from? I am cooperating with the ED, if they ask more questions we will give all the answers. We will take legal recourse,” Parab said.
The case primarily relates to the purchase of agricultural land which is under restricted Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ)-III category at Dapoli and converting it for residential-commercial purposes by constructing a resort illegally in violation of environmental norms. The Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change had filed a complaint against Parab before a magistrate court in Dapoli under CrPC section 190 seeking permission to try Parab for violating conservation rules. Under the CrPC section 190, the magistrate can take cognizance of an offence. The complaint is pending before the court and based on it the ED had registered the money laundering case against him for investigation.
“Today, the ED officials have raided me and places linked to me. Dapoli’s Sai Resort belongs to Sadanand Kadam. This he has already claimed in court and he has submitted all the documents also. The resort is not even open yet. However, the Union Environment Ministry has registered a complaint alleging that sewage water from the resort was flowing into the sea. The ED has raided premises linked to me considering that as a predicate offence. Today’s action was about this. If the resort is shut, I don’t know what action they are taking,” Parab said.
The raided premises include Parab’s family home at Bandra East, his official bungalow at Nariman Point, his business partner Sadanand Kadam’s premises and house of Vibhas Ranjan Sathe in Pune from whom Parab had purchased the land for Rs 1 crore. Afterward Parab reportedly sold the land for Rs 1.1 crore to Kadam who constructed Sai Resort.
BJP leaders, including the former MP Kirit Somaiya, had complained to various central government agencies demanding action against Parab. Parab had filed a defamation suit in the Bombay high court against such claims saying his name was being dragged into controversy with ‘ulterior motives’. The BMC election is scheduled in the next few months and Parab is a key figure involved in poll strategy. Shiv Sena has been controlling the BMC for over two decades, but faces a tough contest against BJP this time.
The controversy
-Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change filed a criminal complaint in magistrate court at Dapoli against Anil Parab under section 190 of CrPC.
-The complaint said that Parab had committed an offense under section 7 of The Environment (Protection) Act.
-Under CrPC 190, the magistrate can take cognisance of the offence.
-The environment ministry requested the magistrate court to take cognizance of the offence and try the offence. It also requested the magistrate to direct investigation for the cognizable offences under the relevant sections of Indian Penal Code.
How ED came into picture
-The ED can register a money laundering case only if there is any scheduler offence under PMLA registered against a person at any other investigating agency or in court.
-The PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act) have list of schedule offences and three sections (7,8 and 15) of the Environment Protection Act comes under the schedule offence.
-The Environment Protection Act section 7 (Penalty for discharging environmental pollutants), 8 (Penalty for handling hazardous substances without complying with procedural safeguards) and 15 (Penalty for contravention of the provisions of the Act).
-Basis of the Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change complaint before the court, the ED register a separate money laundering case against Parab for investigation.
The Ministry of environment forest and climate changes’s allegation against Parab
-2011 Vibhas Ranjan Sathe purchased 1 acre agriculture land at Dapoli in Ratnagiri district from seven different persons.
-2015 Sathe made an application before the gram panchayat to construct a temporary structure of the land and a then he got a NOC to build a kachcha house with several conditions.
May 2017 -Parab purchased the land in Rs 1 crore in and took its possession (But it’s sale deed was executed in 2019).
July 2017- Vibhas Sathe applied for conversion of land use from for residential-commercial purpose before the sub-divisional officer, Dapoli.
-The sub-divisional officer disregarded the CRZ-III norms which prohibit any construction in the area and granted permission to use the land for residential-commercial purpose.
– Parab allegedly constructed Sai resort on the land and sarted its commercial operation which was violations of the environment protection act.
-Parab sold the resort to Sadanand Kadam, his long-time business associate and brother of former minister Ramdas Kadam.

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