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Sameer Bhujbal floated firms to launder proceeds of crime: ED

Chhagan Bhujbal's nephew arrested in Mumbai

 Mumbai  : The Enforcement Directorate today told a special court here that former MP Sameer Bhujbal, nephew of NCP leader Chhagan Bhujbal, had floated several companies to channel and launder proceeds of “criminal activity”.

The special Prevention of Money Laundering Act Court accepted the ED’s request for judicial custody for Sameer. He was remanded in judicial custody till February 22.

“Several companies were floated by the accused with his employees as directors which were utilised for layering of funds through a maze of transactions and such laundered funds were then channelled into the business activities of these companies. The economic rationale of forming multitude of such companies appears to be for channelling and laundering the proceeds generated out of criminal activity,” the agency said in its remand plea.

Investigations to trace the colossal proceeds of crime amounting to Rs 870 crore siphoned off by the accused through a premeditated conspiracy were underway, it added.

Sameer was not fully cooperating with the investigation, was giving evasive answers and attempting to conceal the facts, the remand application said.

“During the period of custody of the accused, the Directorate made efforts to apprehend some of his key associates, namely, Nilesh Shahu and Satyen Kesarkar, but in vain. These two individuals are confidantes of the Bhujbals and their testimony is crucial,” it said.

Senior counsel Amit Desai, appearing for Sameer, however, took objection and said while Nilesh is not in the country due to prior commitments and Satyen visited the ED’s office in Delhi yesterday.

“It is wrong to say that Sameer is not cooperating. Whatever details he is aware of he has told the agency. But these transactions are over a decade old. The agency should take the assistance of experts in such matters,” Desai argued.

The agency in its remand plea further claimed that it had issued summonses to the directors of the companies floated by the Bhujbals, asking them to remain present and submit necessary documents. However, the documents were never submitted. “It is only after the arrest and grant of custody of the accused that documents have been submitted,” the ED said.

“Preliminary scrutiny of the documents reveal that there are large number of interlinking transactions among the companies. The nature of transactions is very complex,” it said.

As the court remanded Sameer in judicial custody till February 22, advocate Desai filed an application seeking home food and medicines for Sameer in jail. He added that a bail application will be filed soon.

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