MUMBAI/INDORE: Enforcement Directorate officials who carried out inspections of 30-35 places in Mumbai on Saturday reportedly recovered sensitive documents from the office of one Jagdish Prasad Purohit in Andheri. He is said to have aided former Maharashtra deputy CM Chhagan Bhujbal in laundering over Rs 46.7 crore through a network of 700 shell companies run from the one address.
Bhujbal was arrested on March 14, 2016 by ED in connection with the Maharashtra Sadan scam and the Kalina land case in which he and his relatives were alleged to have received kickbacks.
On June 17, 2015, ED had filed a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against Bhujbal and his relatives. This came after the Maharashtra Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) searched 26 properties belonging to Bhujbal as part of its investigations into alleged irregularities in the award of a contract of over Rs 100 crore for three projects in 2006 when Bhujbal was the deputy CM and PWD minister.
"Bhujbal is in jail over charges of money laundering. But that is not sufficient. Several shell companies were used by him or his agents for money laundering. Hence it was necessary to find out who else these agents helped. With the scale of ED raids today it appears that work on that part of the case has begun," BJP MP from Mumbai Kirit Somaiya told The New Indian Express.
In Madhya Pradesh, two coal trader brothers are under the ED scanner. Reports from Bhopal said an ED team from Indore searched the residential and business premises of two coal trader brothers in Katni, 375 km from Bhopal. The siblings, Satish and Manish Saraogi, considered close to mining baron and minister Sanjay Pathak, are suspected of being the masterminds of a Rs 2000 crore hawala racket.
According to ED sources, the raid at the Saraogis' three-storeyed building in Katni's Ghantaghar locality started at around 2.30 pm Saturday and was continuing till late in the evening.
Over 100 shell firms with accounts in various banks in Katni were used to park and siphon off proceeds of illegal mining activities between 2006 and 2010, sources said.
Satish Saraogi was arrested by the Katni police from Jabalpur on March 16 and is presently undergoing treatment at a hospital in Bhopal.
In January and February, an ED team had camped in Katni, known as MP's aluminium and limestone mining hub, investigating the siblings’ operations.
In Kolkata, seven locations in Howrah and Kolkata were raided by ED officials on Saturday. Some five shell companies located in Kolkata are on the ED radar. Sources said the raids were completed by mid by afternoon. No names of any politicians involved with any of the shell companies were revealed.