ED raids residence, office of Shiv Sena Minister Anil Parab

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) swooped on the homes and offices of Shiv Sena leader and Transport Minister Anil D. Parab, in Mumbai early on Thursday

ED raids residence, office of Shiv Sena Minister Anil Parab

NH Web Desk

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) swooped on the homes and offices of Shiv Sena leader and Transport Minister Anil D. Parab, in Mumbai early on Thursday.

The ED teams simultaneously reached over half a dozen locations in Mumbai, Ratnagiri, Pune, including Parab's official bungalow in Mumbai and carried out searches linked to alleged irregularities in a land deal in coastal Dapoli area of Ratnagiri district and other charges, officials said.

A security escort was provided to the agency by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). It is understood that the minister was present at his residence during the raids.

The federal probe agency has filed a fresh case against the minister and others under the criminal sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

The action follows a complaint lodged by the agency in an alleged money-laundering case against Parab.

Parab (57), is a three-time Shiv Sena legislator in the Maharashtra legislative council, the upper house of the legislature, and is the state transport and parliamentary affairs minister.

He is facing multiple charges of alleged irregularities and corruption that are understood to have formed the basis of the latest Enforcement Directorate (ED) case.

The first charge pertains to allegations of purchase of a parcel of land in Dapoli by Parab sometime in 2017 for a consideration of Rs 1 crore and it was registered in 2019.

It is alleged that the land was subsequently sold to a Mumbai-based cable operator Sadanand Kadam in 2020 for a consideration of Rs 1.10 crore.

In between, a resort was built on the same land from 2017 to 2020.

The Income Tax Department had made these allegations after it conducted raids in March against some people allegedly close to Parab like Kadam and deputy regional transport officer (RTO) Bajrang Kharmate.

The CBDT said in a statement issued in March, without taking any names, that the construction of the resort started in 2017 and over Rs 6 crore was spent in cash on construction of the resort.

"It transpires that the relevant facts about the construction of the resort were not intimated to the Registration authorities and accordingly, the stamp duty was paid only for the registration of the land on both the occasions i.e. in 2019 and in 2020," it said.

Cost of construction of the same has not been accounted for either by the person searched (Kadam) or the politician (Parab) in their books of account, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), the administrative body for the tax department, had said.

Another case in which Parab has been under the radar of the ED and was also questioned by the agency at its office in Mumbai in September last year pertains to the money laundering case linked to former home minister and NCP leader Anil Deshmukh.

Former police officer Sachin Waze, arrested by the National Investigation Agency in the case of recovery of an explosives-laden SUV near industrialist Mukesh Ambani's house in Mumbai, had levelled certain allegations against Parab.

Waze had alleged in a letter, which he sought to submit before a court, that in January 2021, Parab asked him to carry out an inquiry against "fraudulent" contractors listed in the Mumbai civic body and "collect" at least Rs 2 crore from about 50 such contractors.

Parab had then rejected Waze's claims and said he was ready to face any probe into the allegations.

Waze in his statement to the ED had claimed that Parab received crores as bribe from Kharmate for transfer of some police officers in Mumbai during 2020.

Parab became the second sitting Minister of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government who has been targetted by central probe agencies.

Earlier in February, Nationalist Congress Party Minister Nawab Malik had also been raided and is currently in jail.

Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party former MP Kirit Somaiya, who had predicted the ED actions, said this is only the beginning and many more persons shall be in the net.

The MVA parties have alleged that central probe agencies, including the ED, have been targeting politicians and families from their parties at the behest of the BJP-led government at the Centre.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders have said that the agencies were doing their job independently and acting only on the basis of evidence.

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Published: 26 May 2022, 9:27 AM