Maharashtra ACB searches homes, offices of Bhujbals

Mumbai, June 16 (IANS) A Special Investigation Team of Maharashtra’s Anti-Corruption Bureau on Tuesday carried out searches at 16 offices/homes belonging to senior NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal, his son Pankaj and nephew Sameer.

The former deputy chief minister’s Nationalist Congress Party cried “vendetta” on the searches.

The searches were carried out at their homes and offices in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Thane, Pune and Nashik, an official of the ACB said here.

These include seven residences and offices in Mumbai, a bungalow in Thane, commercial premises in Navi Mumbai, three farmhouses and two bungalows in Nashik, a flat in Pune and a bungalow on a 65-acre plot with a helipad in Lonavala.

The searches followed offences registered by the ACB in the past few weeks against the Bhujbals and 14 others for corruption and amassing wealth and assets beyond their known sources of income.

Following complaints, the ACB lodged FIR against Bhujbal and son Pankaj, both legislators, and nephew Sameer, a former MP, for alleged irregularities in awarding the contract to construct the Maharashtra Sadan in New Delhi.

Last year, following the Bombay High Court directive on a Public Interest Litigation, the ACB formed the SIT to investigate the contract and other cases, including allotment of a plot of land in Kalina to a realtor.

The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) rallied behind the Bhujbals and said the party would challenge these actions in the court of law, senior party leader Madhukar Pichad said and termed the SIT operations an “act of vendetta”.

Co-accused in these cases are Arun Devdhar, Gita Joshi, Iram Shaikh, Devdutt Marathe, Bipin Sankhe, Krishna Chamankar, Prasanna Chamankar, Pranita Chamankar, Pravin Chamankar, Tanveer Shaikh, Sanjay Joshi, Manik Shah, Deepak Deshpande and Anil Gaikwad.

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