NEW DELHI: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) registered a money laundering case against former Union Textile Minister and former Gujarat Chief Minister Shankarsinh Vaghela and others including the then Chairman-cum-Managing Director of National Textile Corporation (NTC) on Thursday for sale of prime property in Mumbai allegedly at throwaway prices to a private company.
The agency further alleged Vaghela and others allegedly conspired illegal transfer of NTC land causing a loss of Rs 709 crore to the government.
The agency said that the case has been registered under various section of Prevention of Money Laundering Act on basis of an FIR registered by Central Bureau of Investigation last year against Vaghela, who is the Leader of Opposition in the Gujarat Assembly, and others.
CBI in the FIR had alleged that Vaghela, former NTC CMD Ramachandran Pillai, R K Sharma then director and M K Khare, then senior manager allegedly sold NTC land in Parel at throwaway price. CBI had alleged that Vaghela overruled the decision of NTC officials and gave favours to the private company.
Vaghela during his tenure as union textile minister in UPA-I tenure entered into a criminal conspiracy and transferred the land of belonging to Shree Madhusudan Mills in Mumbai to Hall and Anderson Limited, Kolkata and its director Kamlesh Mehta a wrongful manner, for a total consideration of Rs 29.35 crores whereas the actual value of the land was much higher.
Last year, the CBI had also carried out raids at the former Gujarat chief minister's residence in Gandhinagar and recovered Rs 13.33 lakh cash.
The CBI had booked them for criminal conspiracy, cheating and sections of Prevention of Corruption Act.
“Madhusudan Mills was taken over by the ministry of textiles/NTC and nationalized under the Textiles Undertakings (Taking Over of Management) Act 1983 and the Textiles Undertaking (Nationalisation) Act, 1995. All the assets of the said firm (Madhusudan) were transferred to the central government/NTC and suitable amount was paid to M/s Madhusudan,” CBI had said about the government taking over the Madhusudan Mills, which was listed among sick companies and was not operational.
CBI officials said Kamlesh Mehta of Hall and Anderson was allowed to develop 27,500 square meters of the 80,785 sqm area of Madhusudan Mill as part of revival of mills of NTC. The land was handed over at a price of Rs 29.35 crore to the Kolkata-based company and its owner for redeveloping it in a move to reach a settlement in July, 2009.
The agency had alleged that in the process of settling of issues regarding taking over of assets and liabilities of the Madhusudan Mills, Vaghela overruled the opinion of the senior officers of the textiles ministry seeking a comprehensive proposal from NTC, owning the land, including the actual valuation of the land for settlement of the issues.
The agency alleged that Vaghela abused his official position to approve the sharing of the land in the ratio of 65:35 in favour of Mehta and his company.