MUMBAI: Congress leader Baba Siddique was today questioned by the ED in connection with a money laundering case related to alleged irregularities in a Rs 400 crore slum rehabilitation project in Bandra.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials said the former Maharashtra minister was grilled for over eight hours and his statement was recorded by the investigating officer (IO) of the case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Siddique was asked about his role in the case and the slum rehabilitation project in suburban Bandra, they said. He may be summoned again to confront him with certain documents that the ED has gathered during the course of investigation, they said.
The central probe agency had conducted raids on May 31 at about seven locations here, including Siddique's premises, a real estate firm and a builder connected to him.
Based on a local police FIR, the ED had recently registered a criminal case under PMLA against Siddique and about dozen others. Bandra police had registered an FIR in 2014, on the direction of a local court, to probe the financial irregularities in the slum rehabilitation project in which Siddique is alleged to have been involved.
Siddique was chairman of the Mumbai-based the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) between 2000 and 2004. In 2012, a complainant had approached a local court stating that the flats allotted in the residential buildings constructed after demolishing a slum in Bandra were granted on the basis of alleged fake documents. There were other irregularities as well, he had claimed.
The agency also suspects use of certain 'fronts' or 'benami' companies in committing the alleged irregularities. Siddique had denied allegations made against him in this case in the past.
He has been a three-time Congress legislator, minister of state for food and civil supplies (during 2004-08) in the Maharashtra government and also served as a municipal corporator.
Known for his links with Bollywood celebrities, he also made news when he reportedly got Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan into a much talked about patch-up hug in 2013 after years of apparently frosty relations.