Updated January 18th, 2024 at 21:35 IST
Khichdi Scam: Suraj Chavan Sent to 4-Days ED Custody as Mystery Around Fund Transactions Deepens
Despite the ongoing investigation, Suraj Chavan has failed to provide explanations for mysterious fund transactions in his account.
Mumbai: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday produced Suraj Chavan, a prominent leader of the Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray party and a close associate of Aditya Thackeray in the court, where the ED sought for an eight-day custody. However, after considering various arguments, the court remanded Chavan to four days ED Custody, until January 22nd.
Suraj Chavan was arrested by the seluths of Enforcement directorate on Wednesday in the alleged Covid Khichdi Scam case.
Exclusive information obtained by Republic TV from the remand copy reveals details of the investigation under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The document discloses that during the initial phase of the COVID-19 pandemic (end of March 2020 to April 4, 2020), M/s Force One Multi Services received a sub-contract from Mr. Sunil Kadam @ Bala to supply Khichdi packets on behalf of M/s Sahyadri Refreshment. These activities were further subcontracted to M/s Sneha Caterers & Decorators (Prop. Mr. Sanjay Mali).
In April 2020, M/s Force One Multi Services was admitted as a vendor for Khichdi supply. Subsequently, the company directly supplied Khichdi to BMC/MCGM by subcontracting work to M/s Sneha Caterers & Decorators (Prop. Mr. Sanjay Mali) and M/s Golden Star Banquet Hall Banquet & Catering Services (Prop. Mr. Manjeet Singh Keer). The total disbursement for the Khichdi supply work amounted to Rs. 8.64 Crore, paid to M/s Force One Multi Services' bank account at a rate of Rs. 33 per Khichdi packet.
During the PMLA investigation, records from Police Authorities, BMC/MCGM, and banks were scrutinized. It was revealed that M/s Force One Multi Services diverted proceeds of crime totaling around Rs. 3.64 Crore into Suraj Chavan's personal bank account (Rs. 1.25 Crore) and his partnership firm, M/s Fire Fighters Enterprises (Rs. 10 Lacs).
The lawyer for Suraj Chavan, Advocate Harshad Bhadbhade argued before the court calling the arrest of Chavan illegal by the Federal Probe Agency , Bhadbhade argued that " It's alleged that the eligibility criteria for contractors were overlooked , The contract was floated when Covid was on peak , it was pandemic do you expect commissioner to float the tenders and invite tenderer, In the Entire grounds of the arrest , ED mentions that they have the statement of the BMC officer who claimed of giving work order or contracts to the mentioned firms on the influence of Suraj Chavan , However Suraj Chavan had no role in Supply of Khichdi, hence the Reason of arrest and grounds of arrest and reason to hold me guilty are not mentioned in the grouns arrest given to the accused hence it amounts to illegal detention and violation of article 22"
Whereas the Public Prosecutor for ED Sunil Gonsalves argued "Section 3 of the PMLA act a person shall be guilty of offence of money-laundering if such person is found to have directly or indirectly attempted to indulge or knowingly assisted or knowingly is a party or is actually involved in one or more of the following processes or activities connected with proceeds of crime is liable for arrest"
Gonsalves further said "The enforcement directorate has got statements of the witnesses in the case , There are bank transactions details of the fund transfers in the account of Suraj Chavan , There are forged documents that have been recovered by the agency , The accused is denying that he was not involved in the scam but he's also unable explain the reasons of the fund transfers in his account. These materials are enough for the remand of the accused"
Published January 18th, 2024 at 21:35 IST