The ED on Thursday raided several locations in Maharashtra as part of a money laundering investigation against the state’s transport minister, Anil Parab, and others linked to alleged irregularities in a land deal in the coastal Dapoli area of Ratnagiri district and other charges, officials said.
The Federal Investigation Agency has filed a new complaint against the minister and others under the criminal sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
At least seven premises including Parab’s official residence in Mumbai, premises linked to Dapoli and Pune are being searched by the agency with a security escort provided by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).
It is understood that the Minister was present at his residence during the searches.
Parab, 57, was a three-time Shiv Sena MP in Maharashtra’s Legislative Council, the upper house of the legislature, and is the state’s Minister of Transport and Parliamentary Affairs.
He faces multiple charges of alleged impropriety and corruption that allegedly formed the basis of the latest case from the Directorate of Law Enforcement (ED).
The first accusation relates to allegations of purchase of a plot of land in Dapoli by Parab in 2017 for a consideration of Rs 1 crore and it was registered in 2019.
It is alleged that the land was later sold to a Mumbai-based cable operator Sadanand Kadam in 2020 for a consideration of Rs 1.10 crore.
In the meantime, a complex was built on the same land from 2017 to 2020.
The Income Tax Department had made the allegations after conducting 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 released in March, without taking names, that construction of the resort started in 2017 and more than Rs 6 crore was spent in cash on the construction of the resort.
“It appears that the relevant facts regarding the construction of the station were not disclosed to the registration authorities and therefore the stamp duty was only paid for the registration of the land at the time in 2019 and in 2020,” he said.
The cost of building it was not taken into account either by the wanted person (Kadam) or by the politician (Parab) in their account books, the Central Commission for Direct Taxes (CBDT), l administrative body of the tax department, had mentioned.
Another case in which Parab has been under ED’s radar and was also questioned by the agency at its Mumbai office in September last year concerns the money laundering case linked to the former Interior Minister and NCP leader Anil Deshmukh.
Former police officer Sachin Waze, arrested by the National Investigation Agency in the case of the recovery of an explosive-laden SUV near the home of industrialist Mukesh Ambani in Mumbai, had made some allegations against Parab .
Waze had alleged in a letter, which he was seeking to submit in court, that in January 2021, Parab had asked him to investigate ‘fraudulent’ contractors listed in the Mumbai civic body and ‘collect’ at least Rs 2 crore from about 50 of these entrepreneurs.
Parab then dismissed Waze’s claims and said he was ready to face any investigation into the allegations.
Waze, in his statement to ED, had claimed that Parab received crores as a bribe from Kharmate for transferring some police officers to Mumbai in 2020.
The Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government of the state is headed by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. It was formed in 2019 after Thackeray’s party, Shiv Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress combined to run the state.
These parties alleged that the central investigative agencies, including the ED, were targeting politicians and families of their parties at the behest of the BJP-led government at the Centre.
Leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said the agencies do their work independently and act only on the basis of evidence.